The CoC Source - November 1, 2013
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State Chair Outstanding Performance Award Winners 2013

Please join the Commission on Cancer (CoC) in congratulating three State Chairs for their outstanding performance in 2013. The State Chair Outstanding Performance Award recognizes individuals who exhibited outstanding leadership and innovation and made significant contributions to the improvement of cancer care in their state or region. They are collaborators, innovators, and experts working with cancer programs, professionals, and state coalitions to improve the quality of cancer care.  This honor is based on excellence in service on behalf of the CoC and the Committee on Cancer Liaison Members.

          

Left to right:
William C. Dooley, MD, FACS, Oklahoma State Chair
Patrick Jackson, MD, FACS, District of Columbia State Chair
Allen Silbergleit, MD, FACS, Michigan State Chair


CoC Recognizes Accredited Programs

CoC-accredited cancer programs provide their communities with high-quality, multidisciplinary, patient-centered care. These programs evolve in response to new diagnostic and treatment modalities, quality assurance and improvement initiatives, and the needs of cancer patients and their families. Currently, there are nearly 1,500 CoC-accredited programs throughout the U.S.

This month, the CoC recognizes the following programs that have maintained their accreditation for 39 -44 consecutive years (beginning in 1969–1974). Congratulations to the following programs for reaching this milestone and for their commitment to providing quality cancer care.

Adventist Medical Center, Portland, OR (1969)
Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center, Corvallis, OR (1969)
Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, CO (1969)
Saint Luke's Hospital of Kansas City, Kansas City, MO  (1969)
University of Toledo Medical Center, Toledo, OH (1969)
St. Mary's Medical Center, Evansville, IN (1969)
Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, Elmhurst, IL (1969)
Crittenton Hospital Medical Center, Rochester, MI (1969)
Staten Island University Hospital, Staten Island, NY (1969)
Mercy Medical Center, Rockville Centre, NY (1970)
Kings County Hospital Center, Brooklyn, NY (1970)
Forrest General Hospital, Hattiesburg, MS (1970)
Peninsula Regional Medical Center, Salisbury, MD (1970)
Valley View Regional Hospital, Ada, OK (1970)
Somerset Medical Center, Somerville, NJ (1970) 
Saint Clare's Hospital - Denville, Denville, NJ (1970) 
Our Lady of Lourdes Memorial Hospital, Binghamton, NY (1970) 
The Chester County Hospital and Health System, West Chester, PA (1970)
St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton, WI (1970)
MidState Medical Center, Meriden, CT (1971) 
University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS (1971) 
Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center, Fort Gordon, GA (1971) 
Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Oklahoma City, OK (1971) 
Rapides Regional Medical Center, Alexandria, LA (1971) 
Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, Hinsdale, IL (1971) 
University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore, MD (1971) 
Inova Fairfax Hospital, Falls Church, VA (1971)  
Northern Westchester Hospital, Mount Kisco, NY (1971) 
Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center, Phoenix, AZ (1971) 
St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center, Paterson, NJ (1972) 
St. Joseph Hospital, Orange, CA (1972)  
Franciscan Saint Margaret Health, Hammond, IN (1972) 
Memorial Health, Savannah, GA (1972)  
South Nassau Communities Hospital, Oceanside, NY (1972) 
Touro Infirmary, New Orleans, LA (1972)  
SSM St. Mary's Health Center, St. Louis, MO (1973) 
BSA Health System, Amarillo, TX (1973) 
Centegra Hospital - McHenry, McHenry, IL (1973) 
University of California, Davis MC, Sacramento, CA (1973) 
Methodist Dallas Medical Center, Dallas, TX (1973) 
Baystate Medical Center, Springfield, MA, (1973) 
Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, NJ (1973)  
Presence St. Mary's Hospital, Kankakee, IL (1973)  
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento, CA (1973) 
Alle-Kiski Medical Center, Natrona Heights, PA (1973) 
Glen Cove Hospital, Glen Cove, NY (1974) 
West Suburban Medical Center, Oak Park, IL (1974) 
Methodist Hospitals, Merrillville, IN (1974) 
Mount Sinai Hospital Medical Center, Chicago, IL (1974) 
St. Vincent Hospital & Health Services, Indianapolis, IN (1974) 
Mercy Medical Center, Springfield, MA (1974) 
Atlanticare Regional Medical Center, Egg Harbor Township, NJ (1974) 
University of California Irvine Medical Center, Orange, CA (1974)  
Morristown Medical Center, Morristown, NJ (1974) 
Winchester Medical Center, Winchester, VA (1974)  
Lewis-Gale Medical Center, Salem, VA (1974) 
Rockingham Memorial Hospital, Harrisonburg, VA (1974)  
Overlake Hospital Medical Center, Bellevue, WA (1974)  


New Standard 5.2 - RQRS Participation Will Affect 2014 Surveys

All programs should review the new Standard 5.2 Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) Participation as set forth in Cancer Program Standards 2012, Version 1.2: Ensuring Patient-Centered Care. The standard outlines the requirements needed for commendation. Remember that the standard is part of the Outstanding Achievement Award (OAA) criteria and will be used to identify 2014 OAA recipients.

Information describing the RQRS terms, conditions, and registration process are available. The CoC-accredited program’s committee chair, cancer liaison physician, program administrator, and registrar must complete the electronic registration steps in order to enroll their cancer program in RQRS.

Programs that are surveyed in 2014 may receive a commendation for the new Standard 5.2. The best way to ensure receiving the commendation rating is to complete the RQRS registration process by January 1, 2014, and to submit data to RQRS at least once prior to the 2014 survey.

If registration does not take place by that date, then a program surveyed in 2014 may still receive commendation if the RQRS registration process and at least one data submission takes place prior to the 2014 survey.

CoC-accredited program staff will record the RQRS registration date and the date of the most recent RQRS data submission in the Survey Application Record (SAR) and rate their performance with the standard. These fields have been added to the 2014 SAR, which will be released to programs before the end of the year. The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) staff will confirm RQRS registrations and data submissions prior to survey and assign the rating in advance of the survey. The surveyor will be able to modify the rating to acknowledge the completion of RQRS registrations and data submissions that take place immediately before the 2014 survey.

Please submit questions about the RQRS standard to the CAnswer Forum.

Thinking Ahead to the NCDB Call for Data

The official NCDB Call for Data announcement was sent to all programs in a special CoC Source on October 15. Current preparation should include the following steps:

  • Make sure all cases diagnosed in 2012 have been fully abstracted, including delayed treatment that has been administered to date.
  • Make sure all follow-up information from the past 12 months has been entered for all years from your Reference Date forward.
  • Make sure all Collaborative Stage (CS) information is entered and the CS algorithm has been run for all cases diagnosed from 2004 and forward.
  • If your registry is still using North American Association of Central Cancer Registries, Inc. (NAACCR) layout version 12.2, it must be upgraded to layout 13.0 before submission.
  • Carefully read the 2014 requirements for full Call for Data information.
The submission edits for the upcoming Call for Data will be posted at the beginning of December. Do not select cases for NCDB submission until at least December 1, to avoid missing any cases. In the meantime, pre-edit using the NAACCR edit set for “Hospitals – All,” which should be available in your software (you may have to ask your software provider what it is called there). That is the same edit set that must be used in order to stamp your cases “Date Case Complete – CoC” and is the source for most NCDB submission edits.


Hints for Editing Your CP3R

Do you know what to do if the number of cases in your CP3R looks low? Should you aim for 100 percent compliance? Do you know when to censor a case? Do you know what the problem is if you do not see the “edit” option in the CP3R? The calls and e-mails to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB) suggest that you are not alone.

Where did all the cases go?

The Case Review portion of the CP3R identifies cases eligible for the measure (“COMP” and “rRx”), followed by three other classifications: “I” (Incomplete), “NA” (Not Applicable), and “NE” (Not Eligible for any measure for this site).

An important list of cases to review for possible eligibility is the “I” group. These are cases that might be eligible for the measure, but it is not possible to determine because some piece of information is unknown. Completing the missing information usually will move nearly all cases to either an eligible or ineligible classification. In a thoroughly reviewed CP3R, the number of cases remaining in this category should be quite small. For many cases across the CP3R, the missing information is one or more American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging items.

For cases eligible for the measure, the type of treatment and date or the coded reason for not receiving the treatment are the items to review. If this information is not available in the patient record or is not provided by other facilities that cared for the patient, work with the cancer committee to find ways to correct that.

Does someone in your program expect all measures to be at 100 percent compliance?


Mother Nature is not perfect, and there will always be some patients whose care does not include the preferred activity. There may be health conditions to resolve before administration of adjuvant treatment, the gunshot wound emergency may take precedence over full collection of colon nodes, or the patient may choose to delay until after a special event. It is not expected that programs will achieve 100 percent compliance on all measures. The registry’s responsibility is to code correctly according to Facility Oncology Registry Data Standards (FORDS), code as fully as available information allows, and to record the reasons for the exceptions to share with the cancer committee and surveyor as needed. The program’s responsibility is to examine the cases that fall through the cracks and take steps to improve the likelihood that patients will receive the recommended care. Those steps should be documented in the cancer committee minutes.

Should I censor this case?

The primary purpose of the censor button is for use with a case that was initially submitted with a coding error that, if corrected, will result in the case being ineligible for any measure in CP3R. It should rarely be needed. For example, a recent colon case was determined on review to be a colorectal junction primary. Because the colorectal junction is not included in the colon or rectum measures, the registrar should censor the case, make the correction in the hospital’s registry database, and notify NCDB that the case submitted as a colon primary should be deleted from the NCDB. The corrected case will automatically be selected for submission to NCDB in the program’s next Call for Data submission.

There are occasionally administrative reasons to censor a case. The CP3R retains cases previously submitted and adds newly submitted cases. Therefore, it is possible for a single case to be represented twice if the Sequence Number, Accession Number, or Facility ID is changed. That process is not implemented for other NCDB reports. If a case appears under both old and new identifiers, please censor the version with the obsolete code. Finally, if a case on a study protocol is blinded so treatment is not known, or the protocol dictates that an expected treatment is not given, the case can be censored if it is non-compliant.

No other cases should be censored. To uncensor cases, change the code in the “censor” column to 0. You will find previously-censored cases in the “NE” group.

Who can edit a CP3R case?

Only staff listed as Registrar or Co-Registrar for your program can edit cases in CP3R. That is because CP3R editing is a coding activity, for which registry knowledge is necessary. If you are a registrar or co-registrar in your program and you do not see the “edit” capability in your CP3R, please update your staff contacts in Datalinks.

The staff contacts list should be reviewed periodically, especially when there are staff turnovers in any part of the cancer program.

If you have questions about the CP3R, contact NCDB or call 312-202-5339.


Cancer Liaison Physician Breakfast Meeting

Each year during the American College of Surgeons Clinical Congress, the CoC’s Cancer Liaison Program sponsors a Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) Breakfast.

On Monday, October 7, we had a robust program featuring topics of interest to the network of CoC State Chairs and CLPs.  Topics included highlights on the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), the results of a collaboration with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) on a multidisciplinary survey distributed to more than 1,500 CLPs, and an overview on a National Cancer Data Base tool called Cancer Quality Improvement Program (CQIP). Linda Ferris, PhD, presented CoC standards revisions and Stephen Edge, MD, FACS, presented “Choosing Wisely” quality measures.  Phillip Roland, MD, FACS, and Mary Milroy, MD, FACS, moderated the morning session.

More than 200 CLPs attended the breakfast, which presents an ideal opportunity to network and share ideas among peers.  A live webcast is available on the CoC website. 

 

New Webinar: Standard 3.1 Community Needs Assessment Planning

Marie J. Lavigne, LCSW, OSW-C, presents the 30 minute pre-recorded webinar “An Integrated Approach to Community Needs Assessment Planning for Standard 3.1” on the ACoS Cancer Programs Online Education Portal. This webinar provides an overview of the process for Cancer Committee leaders to:

  1. Understand the requirements of the Affordable Health Care Act in performing a Community Health Needs Assessment.
  2. Consider the distinct process the Standard 3.1 outlines for a Needs Assessment to further define the Cancer Committee’s target patient population, community needs, gaps in care and how patient navigation can address these needs.
  3. Frame the assessment questions and focus priorities.
This webinar is complimentary to CoC-accredited cancer program staff using their Datalinks user ID and is $50 for all other participants.  Find more information on using your Datalinks user ID on the Education Portals FAQ page.

Be sure to bookmark the new American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs Online Education Portal where you will find all of your CoC educational webinars and more.

AJCC News

Free AJCC Webinars

Fifteen AJCC webinars are offered free of charge on the American College of Surgeons Cancer Programs Online Education Portal. CoC-accredited cancer programs staff may log in using their Datalinks account information. All other visitors may create a free account to view our content.

Popular titles include:

  • AJCC and UICC: Tumor Deposits in Colorectal Cancer
  • Melanoma and Merkel Cell Carcinoma Staging
  • The AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, 7th Edition Staging for Esophagus and Stomach: A Simplified Road Map for Tumor Location
  • What’s New in GI Staging: Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors, Neuroendocrine Tumors of the GI Tract, and Endocrine Tumors of the Pancreas

Visit the Education Portal today!


AJCC Members Featured in The Recovery Room Show

Frederick “Rick” Greene, MD, FACS—surgical oncologist, AJCC member, past editor of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual, and continuing contributor to AJCC education and publications—hosts The Recovery Room Show, a podcast series available on the American College of Surgeons website.

“Making sense of modern medicine, The Recovery Room is an audio conversation with experts in surgery, medicine, ethics, and public health about the latest developments in medicine and health care…From breakthroughs in research and treatment to policy changes and ethical debates, The Recovery Room brings you to the front lines of medical practice and innovation.”

Episode 20: Sun Exposure and Skin Cancer features AJCC member Jeffrey Gershenwald, MD, FACS, and discusses issues related to sun protection and skin cancer.

Episode 21: Managing Breast Cancer in the Era of Genetic Testing
features AJCC Chair David R. Byrd, MD, FACS, and explores the surgical, ethical, and counseling aspects of genetic testing in breast cancer treatment.

Find these and other fascinating episodes at www.facs.org.


8th Edition Update

The AJCC Executive Committee recently announced a mid-2016 publication date for the 8th edition AJCC Cancer Staging System during its 2013 Annual Meeting held this September in Chicago.  The 8th edition will be effective for all cancer cases recorded on or after January 1, 2017.  Key activities prior to the 2016 publication date include:

  • Careful analysis of data collected since the 7th Edition's release in 2010
  • Thoughtful validation of prognostic and predictive factors for incorporation in the staging system
  • Continued deep collaboration with standard setters and key partners to anticipate, communicate, and help incorporate staging system changes to the cancer care and surveillance community

Visit our website for all 8th Edition Updates.  We look forward to an exciting development process!



NAPBC News

Lead Your Breast Program to Excellence
Learn from those who developed the standards
November 15–16

The NAPBC will host a dynamic two-day conference at The Westin Michigan Avenue in Chicago, IL, November 15–16.  Nationally recognized leaders will discuss critical success factors for comprehensive breast centers.   

Learn how others built their multidisciplinary breast centers from the ground up using nationally recognized programs. This conference will include nationally recognized authorities discussing:

  • National Quality Programs: The What, Why, and How of NAPBC, NQMBC, and BICOE
  • Developing a High-Quality Breast Program
  • Critical Success Factors for Developing Certification/Accreditation-Worthy Breast Programs
  • Benefits and Cost-Effectiveness of Breast Center Programs
  • Defining Benchmarks for Breast Centers of Excellence
  • Breast Diagnostic, Treatment, and Management Quality Metrics
  • Aggressive Screening Programs, Patient Navigation, Genetic Risk Assessment and Counseling, Survivorship, and Advocacy

ACCREDITATION
The American College of Surgeons is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

CME CREDIT
The American College of Surgeons designates this live activity for a maximum of 14.75 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Seating for this conference will be limited and because of the comprehensive nature of the agenda, the conference is selling out quickly.  

Learn more about the Lead Your Breast Program to Excellence Conference and REGISTER TODAY!


American Medical Association Quality and Education Initiatives

As part of its longstanding commitment to continuous improvement in delivery of health care, the American Medical Association (AMA) has launched two significant initiatives that will impact programs and constituent organizations of the CoC. Members of the AMA-convened Physician Consortium for Performance Improvement (PCPI) represent more than 190 specialty and state medical societies; non-physician clinician groups; experts in performance measurement, methodology, and quality improvement; and others. The PCPI implemented multi-year strategic initiatives in three areas in 2013:

  1. Making the transition from a portfolio comprised largely of process measures to include more outcomes measures (clinical and patient-reported).
  2. Promoting use of registries for performance measurement, quality improvement, and reporting in pay for performance programs.
  3. Cross-cutting quality improvement activities starting with a closing the referral loop initiative.

Through the AMA’s oncology work group and organ/specialty-specific work groups, dozens of oncology-related quality measures have been proposed to the National Quality Forum, endorsed by that group, and added to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services payment programs.

The 2013 update of the AMA online Pain Management Continuing Medical Education (CME) series contains 12 modules totaling 14.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  The course materials acknowledge the growing controversy surrounding the appropriate prescribing of opioids for patients with chronic non-cancer pain, but also recognize the need for greater awareness in the use of these agents for long-term cancer survivors, and the need to adopt a “universal precautions approach” to risk management. Each year more than 16,000 Americans die from overdoses in which opioids are implicated, and these medicines are involved in about 400,000 emergency department visits annually, according to federal government estimates. Training topics include the pathophysiology of pain and pain assessment, an overview of treatment options, barriers to appropriate pain management, pain in special populations (pediatrics, geriatrics, substance use disorders), management of neuropathic and common persistent pain conditions, the assessment and treatment of cancer pain, and palliation at end of life. Access to the course materials is free. Physicians can complete the modules that address the specific needs of their practices and patients. The modules are also appropriate for a number of non-physician organization continuing education requirements. Those who are interested in obtaining CME credit must register, and pay a $6 fee per module.

For additional information regarding the PCPI or opioid management education modules, visit the AMA website.


Cancer Insurance Checklist: New Resource for Patients Using the Health Insurance Exchanges

The Cancer Support Community (CSC), in a partnership of 19 health care and patient organizations, launched the Cancer Insurance Checklist, a comprehensive guide for people with cancer, have a history of cancer, or are at high risk for developing cancer, to use when shopping for insurance plans in their state health insurance marketplaces/exchanges. The Cancer Insurance Checklist provides patients guidance—free of charge—on the questions they should ask when shopping for insurance, particularly to ensure that they understand and can compare each plan’s coverage for cancer-related services. 

The Cancer Insurance Checklist may be used to evaluate insurance plans and also in discussions with a navigator or health care provider. The checklist helps patients review the coverage within each insurance plan being considered, including coverage for services provided by their whole health care team, where they receive care, medications, and common cancer treatments and services. Additionally, the checklist provides a worksheet to help consumers understand the costs associated with each plan. The website also includes links to resources that will be useful to consumers using the marketplaces/exchanges.

Demand is high for this resource. In the first week the checklist was available online, more than 5,000 patients visited the site and downloaded the checklist 2,000 times. CSC is honored to provide meaningful support, education, and tools to help patients navigate the complex decision making associated with their cancer journey.
 

NCRA News

Additional CTR Exam Testing Dates and other Exciting Enhancements Coming in 2014

The CTR Exam will see some exciting updates in 2014. In response to candidates’ feedback and to accommodate the graduation schedules of CRM/CIM students, NCRA’s Council on Certification has added a third testing window and extended the testing periods from two weeks to three. The increased testing windows is also in response to CoC Standard 5.1, which will require that beginning January 1, 2012, all cancer registry staff who perform case abstracting at a CoC-accredited program must either: a.) hold a current Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR®) credential or b.) perform case abstracting under the supervision of a CTR. These non-credentialed abstractors must pass the CTR exam by January 2015.

The Council is also working with new testing company in 2014: AMP or Applied Measurement Professionals, Inc. Candidate access and the quality of its testing centers were the main reasons the Council decided to work with AMP. Its Assessment Center Network offers a test center within two hours of all major metropolitan centers and over 580 smaller urban areas, plus 85 international testing centers in over 30 countries.

Another important consideration was AMP’s ability to offer candidates an online system to manage their account. Beginning in 2014, all CTR Exam candidates will be able to use the system to check their application status, schedule testing, and view score reports.

These logistical changes coincide with content updates to the 2014 exam. As noted in recent NCRA announcements, the Council on Certification initiated a Job Analysis of cancer registry professionals in 2012. A Job Analysis is an essential component of any credentialing program. It is a scientific research study that seeks to outline the knowledge, skills, and abilities that define a profession and distinguishes it from others. The results were used to validate the content of the credentialing exam and to ensure it accurately reflects changes in the profession. The results of the 2012 study yielded a set of recommendations that the Council will implement beginning with the 2014 exam, including updating the exam content outline and weighting, plus reducing the number of exam questions. In addition, candidates will have a total of four hours to take the exam, with a maximum of 2.5 hours allotted for the closed-book section and 1.5 hours for the open-book section.

2014 CTR Exam Dates

Testing Period: March 8 – 29
Application Deadline: January 31

Testing Period: June 21 – July 12
Application Deadline: May 2

Testing Period: Oct. 18 – Nov. 8
Application Deadline: September 19

CTR Exam Blueprint

The CTR Exam Blueprint outlines the specific knowledge and tasks for each of the exam’s six Domains of Practice. To access the blueprint, go to http://bit.ly/CTRExamBP.

CTR Exam Resources

Of the 18 references used to prepare the 2014 CTR Exam, nine have been updated since 2013. The list for the 2014 exam can be found at: www.ctrexam.org/resources.

2014 Candidate’s Handbook and Application

The 2014 Candidate’s Handbook and Application will be available December 2013. To request a PDF copy, e-mail ctrexam@ncra-usa.org or visit www.ctrexam.org

 

New NCI-Funded Training for Psychosocial Distress Screening Program Development Accepting Applications

The Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program trains cancer care providers on how to develop, implement, and maintain psychosocial screening programs to meet the CoC’s new quality care standard. Applications to attend are now being accepted. The deadline for submission is November 15, 2013.   

Funded by a grant from the National Cancer Institute, the Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program is a joint project of Yale University School of Nursing and the American Psychosocial Oncology Society (APOS). With an international faculty of leading psychosocial cancer care professionals and researchers, the program will train two cancer care providers from one cancer care facility over two years. The first year includes a beginning one-day workshop held at the APOS conference in Tampa, Florida, on February 13, 2014, and continues with four live online teaching sessions throughout the year. The second year includes an advanced one-day workshop and two live online teaching sessions throughout the year.

Successful implementation and ongoing maintenance of a psychosocial screening program will be enhanced by having two people from each cancer care facility attend the training. Funding for the Screening for Psychosocial Distress Program allows for a stipend for each person toward covering the cost of attending the program. The program enrolls up to 18 cancer care facilities each year for a total of 36 participants. More information and an application can be found at:  http://www.apos-society.org/screening.



 

SEER Announces SEER*Educate

Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) announces the release of SEER*Educate, an online training platform for people who are in the cancer registry profession or are interested in working at a registry. Registry trainers know about the shortage of practical application exercises available for people to learn how to do this job or to stay current with the changing guidelines. A primary goal of SEER*Educate is to fill this need.

You learn cancer registry work by doing cancer registry work. Currently available on SEER*Educate are 295 practice cases across the 12 largest primary site groups available for coding using Collaborative Stage (CS) version 02.04 and the 2013 SEER Program Coding and Staging Manual. Not only are you presented with the correct values for each of the more than 60 data items, you also are presented with rationales explaining how to arrive at the correct code. It's exactly like having a registry trainer reviewing 100 percent of your work.

No matter where you are on the registrar career path, experienced or inexperienced, certified or not certified, hospital-based or population-based, this tool offers the training you need to:

  • Prepare for the CTR exam
  • Earn continuing education (CE) credits for free
  • Train on real-life case scenarios when learning new coding schemes and guidelines

SEER*Educate helps improve individual performance and provides standard setters an opportunity to use evidence-based summary data to improve coding consistency using the current coding manuals and to prepare new coding manuals addressing issues found in the existing manuals. We all want to achieve high-quality cancer data collection nationally and internationally so that researchers can trust that our de-identified, pooled data has been coded consistently. Ours is a unique profession because cancer registrars are highly driven toward the greater goals of the entire cancer registry community.

Practice exercises currently available:

  • Medical terminology
  • Statistics
  • Computer principles
  • CoC standards
  • Real-life case scenarios using CSv02.04 (295 cases)

New content will be made available quarterly. The near-term scheduled releases include:

  • Practice cases for the 2014 Hematopoietic and Lymphoid Database and Manual (January 2014)
  • Practice cases for CSv02.05 (January 2014)
  • Cancer Program Management Principles and Practices textbook (April 2014)
  • Anatomy (July 2014)

What do you need to get started? A computer that uses the Web browser Mozilla Firefox® and a desire to learn from mistakes! SEER*Educate is available free to everyone.

Everyone who signs up will be notified quarterly about the release of new content. Sign up at SEER*Educate today. Learn by doing. Get started now with a demonstration exercise.

SEER*Educate is funded by SEER of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Helpful Hints for SEER*Educate

1.    Firefox is required. No other Web browser is supported at this time.
2.    To ensure you have the latest version, follow the instructions on the home page to clear your browser cache. Do this weekly. We are working on a solution to eliminate the need to clear your browser cache.
3.    Taking the practice tests:

a.    You will have the best user experience using a dual-monitor workstation so you can display the case scenario on one screen and the coding form on another.
b.    The practice cases can be displayed on a 22" widescreen monitor, sizing the case scenario and coding form so that both may been seen.
c.    Laptop users will need extremely good vision to size and display the case scenario and coding form on the screen.

4.    Read the Answers and Rationales page under the Introduction Menu. It describes how the preferred answers were determined and what to do if you believe a preferred answer is in error.
5.    Hospital registrars: On the Practical Application page, click the link to display a page listing the differences between SEER and hospital coding guidelines. The preferred answers are based on SEER coding guidelines.
6.    You can pause any test or coding exercise by clicking the Finish Later button. To resume, go to the Training Menu and click on Incomplete Tests. Registrars often must work with interruptions.
7.    Embrace making mistakes. Focus on understanding the rationales. Scores will improve as your understanding improves.
8.    To earn the CE credits, you must score a minimum of 70 percent on all the case coding exercises in a site group. You can retake coding exercises as many times as necessary.

We hope you discover that SEER*Educate "Learn by Doing" training platform is an effective tool to help you and your staff improve the technical skills necessary to succeed in our dynamic and challenging profession.