Toward a Platform for Structured Data Acquisition in Oncology: A Pilot Study on Prostate Cancer Screening

Oncology. 2021;99(12):802-812. doi: 10.1159/000518381. Epub 2021 Aug 31.


Introduction: Physicians spend an ever-rising amount of time to collect relevant information from highly variable medical reports and integrate them into the patient's health condition.

Objectives: We compared synoptic reporting based on data elements to narrative reporting in order to evaluate its capabilities to collect and integrate clinical information.

Methods: We developed a novel system to align medical reporting to data integration requirements and tested it in prostate cancer screening. We compared expenditure of time, data quality, and user satisfaction for data acquisition, integration, and evaluation.

Results: In a total of 26 sessions, 2 urologists, 2 radiologists, and 2 pathologists conducted the diagnostic work-up for prostate cancer screening with both narrative reporting and the novel system. The novel system led to a significantly reduced time for collection and integration of patient information (91%, p < 0.001), reporting in radiology (44%, p < 0.001) and pathology (33%, p = 0.154). The system usage showed a high positive effect on evaluated data quality parameters completeness, format, understandability, as well as user satisfaction.

Conclusion: This study provides evidence that synoptic reporting based on data elements is effectively reducing time for collection and integration of patient information. Further research is needed to assess the system's impact for different patient journeys.

Keywords: Clinical decision support system; Data acquisition; Data element; Data integration; Synoptic reporting.

MeSH terms

  • Data Management / methods*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / methods*
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology / methods*
  • Pathologists / psychology
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prostate-Specific Antigen
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Radiologists / psychology
  • Research Report
  • Software*
  • Switzerland / epidemiology
  • Urologists / psychology


  • Prostate-Specific Antigen