CoC Source
June 28, 2013
National Cancer Data Base News
Determining Submission Completeness

Completeness of data submitted for the NCDB Call for Data involves two components: Are all required cases submitted?  Is all information required abstracted for those cases?  Understanding how these two questions are answered is vital given the recently-announced changes to Standard 5.2 that replace the 6-month abstracting timeliness requirement (See the May CoC Source at In this first of a two-part series, some suggestions for determining whether all cases were successfully submitted are offered.  The subject of complete abstracting will follow in the future.

NCDB submission requirements are posted at Each January, CoC-accredited programs must submit all analytic cases diagnosed a full year preceding the submission (in 2013, the cases diagnosed in 2011 were the most recent to be submitted).  In addition, they must submit all analytic cases diagnosed on or after the program’s Reference Date that were added or updated since shortly before the particular year was most recently involved in a Call for Data.  Programs should routinely check the notifications they receive when their cases are processed or CoC Datalinks to ascertain all of the following:

  • Does the number of cases NCDB received and processed match the number of cases the program selected for submission?
  • Does the number of cases for the most recent submission year approximate the number of cases submitted a year ago for the most recent year at that time (Is the number of 2011 diagnoses submitted in 2013 in the same ballpark as the number of 2010 diagnoses submitted in 2012?)
  • For each year prior to the most recent, is the number of cases submitted at least as large as the number of cases successfully followed since just before the prior Call for Data submission for the year? (If the program successfully followed 427 cases and abstracted the results prior to submission, but the submission included only 89 cases for that year, that is a red flag).
  • Looking through successively earlier diagnosis years, does the number of cases submitted decrease gradually and not suddenly drop off for a year or two?  (Good for successively earlier diagnoses:  856 cases, 801, 752, 729, 687; Warning signal: 856 cases, 801, 27, 729, 3).  Note that submissions in 2011 did not follow this pattern because the number of years since the previous submission ranged from 1 to 7.
If the answer to any of these questions is “no”, some detective work is necessary to determine what happened and what to do about it.  Your own registry staff, your software provider, and NCDB staff may be able to help.  

NCDB’s approach to determining complete case reporting for Standard 5.5 prior to surveys is more analytic.  For the most recent year submitted, the check is similar to that suggested by the second bullet above.  Submission completeness for earlier years is based on a ratio computed as follows:

Number of cases submitted by Program XX for prior diagnosis year YY (example: 2003)
divided by
Number of cases submitted by Program XX for the most recent diagnosis year (example: 2011)
times 100 = ZZ%

For each diagnosis year, the resulting percents (ZZ%) are ranked and the lowest 5% across all programs for that diagnosis year during that submission period are considered “suspiciously low”.  There are a few situations for which the excessively low submission is complete.  For example, a recent merger may increase the number of cases submitted for the most recent year sufficiently that the percent calculated for earlier years appears too low.  If a valid circumstance results in a deficiency rating for Standard 5.5, please contact NCDB at  Deficiencies for Standard 5.5 may be resolved by resubmitting the entire analytic diagnosis year’s cases for each year with an insufficient submission; to schedule a resubmission for a Standard 5.5 deficiency resolution after the survey report is available, contact Vicki Chiappetta.
Share: LinkedIn Twitter Facebook

< Previous Article | Return to Email | Next Article >
Forward to a Friend
Manage Your Subscription
Printer-Friendly Version
Mobile Version
Search Back Issues
Contact CoC Staff
In This Issue
Enhanced Data Display Now Available through the CoC Hospital Locator
CoC Announces 2013 Paper Competition Winners
Welcome Two New CoC Member Organizations
Visit with CoC Staff at the AHA Leadership Summit
Are You Receiving The CoC Brief?
CoC Recognizes Long-Standing Programs
Cancer Program Accreditation
Time for the Annual Update Period
New Information If You Need to Appeal
Don't Forget to Check the "News" Tab in CoC Datalinks
We Need Your Feedback on the Post-Survey Evaluation
Post-Survey Tips
Determining Submission Completeness
Is Your CLP Term Expiring?
Check Out New Resources on the Cancer Liaison Physician Information Board
Cancer Liaison Physician Training Held June 3
The New American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs Online Education Portal is Now Open
View the New Videos on the CoC Standards
New CoC Webinars Now Available
Save the Date for Survey Savvy 2014
Executive Training on Navigation and Survivorship: Finding Your Patient Focus
Important Dates & Deadlines
Featured Resources
CoC Home Accreditation CLP Meetings Online Education NCDB Publications Coc Datalinks Forward to a friend Manage Subscription Print-Friendly Back Issues