Hematologic malignancies: an opportunity to fill a gap in cancer surveillance

Cancer Causes Control. 2012 Aug;23(8):1253-64. doi: 10.1007/s10552-012-0003-1. Epub 2012 Jun 7.


Background: Reporting of hematologic malignancies is an increasingly important focus for cancer surveillance. As trends in cancer care are shifting to the outpatient setting, hospital-based data collection methods used for cancer surveillance will result in under-reporting of these cancers. This study describes the testing and validation of an automated system for capturing and reporting cancers from community oncology providers.

Methods: The system was evaluated in 5 oncology practices in two states processing claims data for a 4- or 8-month interval. Resulting cancers were matched with the state registries. A random sample of nonmatched cases was reabstracted to measure the accuracy of the claims data for reporting of hematologic malignancies.

Results: The overall match rate for the 1,935 hematologic malignancies reported during the study period was 58.2 % (range, 37.4 % for CLL to 71.2 % for Hodgkin's Lymphoma). The overall accuracy rate for billing-reported hematologic malignancies was 95 %. Accuracy among cases that did not match with the cancer registry was 88 %. The estimated number of missed cases for the five participating practices ranged from 0.8 leukemia cases/oncologist/year to 3.4 CLL cases/oncologist/year. The estimated total number of missed cases in the five participating practices was 292 with an interquartile range of 263-323.

Conclusion: As cancer diagnosis and treatment continue migration into ambulatory physician practice settings unreported hematopoietic cases will become increasingly problematic. Leveraging the standardized electronic billing data for automated reporting of cancer cases from physician practices may be an efficient method to reduce this gap in cancer surveillance reporting.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Hematologic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Hospitals
  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology / organization & administration
  • Monitoring, Ambulatory
  • North Carolina / epidemiology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Registries
  • Virginia / epidemiology