ASCO Completes Electronic Data Sharing Standard for Breast Cancer Treatment

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ASCO has completed the first phase in developing several sets of interoperability standards for cancer care data and overcoming the widespread inconsistencies that currently limit secure sharing of information between providers, patients, and researchers. The first standard, the Breast Cancer Treatment Plan and Summary Standard and Implementation Guide, was announced at the 2013 ASCO Annual Meeting and will be published later this summer.

“This data standard will allow oncologists to share data during care, but also provide a summary for primary care physicians and patients after treatment ends. ASCO and other oncology organizations can and will use it as a foundation for creating additional standards,” said ASCO Immediate Past President Sandra M. Swain, MD, FACP.

Improving Electronic Health Records

The Society’s work in data standards is in conjunction with the development of CancerLinQ, a learning computer network that will collect and analyze cancer care data from millions of patient visits, together with expert guidelines and other evidence, to generate real-time, personalized guidance and quality feedback for physicians.

All of ASCO’s health information technology efforts are based on the fact that future cancer care will depend on the ability to electronically share clinical information between practitioners.  However, electronic health records often contain data that cannot easily be shared among physicians or contributed to quality improvement, public health reporting or analytics.  In addition, the current exchange standards do not include disease-specific templates needed for continuity of cancer care.

Data Interoperability Standards Summit

ASCO hosted a Data Interoperability Standards Summit in February of 2013 to encourage collaboration in developing standards that will overcome these barriers. The Society selected adjuvant treatment for breast cancer as the focus for the first oncology standard. The draft standard was approved by open ballot through Health Level Seven International (HL7®), an accredited Standards Developing Organization (SDO) and the leading global SDO focused solely on health care, in May and the standard is expected to be published by HL7 and ready for implementation in summer of 2013. Major elements covered with the standard include:

  • Diagnosis (site, histology, and stage)
  • Pertinent patient health and comorbidity information
  • Surgical history and pathology
  • Goals of therapy
  • Chemotherapy regimen and dosage
  • Duration of treatment and number of cycles
  • Major chemotherapy side effects

Future areas of focus for ASCO’s data standards initiative will include developing standards for other specific cancers, for additional types of data such as patient-entered information, or for additional cancer care priorities, such as survivorship. ■

© 2013. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.