Registry Best Practices

Developed and presented by members of the NCRA Education Committee and Informatics Committee, the Registry Best Practice Mini-Learning Series of narrated presentations are intended to help the abstracting process become more efficient and accurate.  These presentations are short, direct, and easy to understand. 

Special Note: NCRA has changed the name of its credential. Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) is the new name for the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential. Please note that any reference to the Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR) credential should be understood to be the Oncology Data Specialist (ODS) credential. For more information regarding the name change see the ODS Name Change.

Informatics Mini-Shorts

Part I: What is Informatics?

The Process of Rethinking and Updating Case Finding

Leveraging Informatics on Follow-Up Operations

Presented by members of the 2021-2022 NCRA Informatics Committee, this educational mini-short, “Part I:  What is Informatics?” will define informatics, outline some of the disciplines within informatics, review key terms and concepts, and discuss what informatics means to the cancer registrar, including the impact and challenges in the registry. 

Hospital-based casefinding can be as complex as the facility in which it is performed. Kelly Merriman, MPH, PhD, ODS-C, Chair of the NCRA Informatics Committee, created this case finding mini-short to demonstrate existing and new ways of case finding to assist cancer registrars in using the following data sources: billing data using NCI SEER case finding list, appointment (visit) information, pathology reports, and treatment data using pharmacy, surgical radiation charges.

Giordana De Las Pozas, MD, MS, ODS-C, reviews the advantages of applying informatics to follow-up, outlining how it is used for research and cancer registry operations. She explains the application of technology to data collection and analysis and how it provides researchers with increased efficiency and cost-effective solutions when tracking cancer survival statistics. De Las Pozas also details how applying informatics to follow-up helps ensure registrars have up-to-date information on patients lost to follow-up and improves processes for analyzing survival data and cancer care.

Excelling in Excel: Tips & Tricks

Excelling in Excel: Power Query

Representing the NCRA Informatics Committee, Ronda G Broome, MS, MSHMI, ODS-C will review a few tips and tricks in Microsoft Excel that can help in the cancer registry. This includes covering formatting worksheets, utilizing a key tool under the data tab to import data into the workbook and understanding a formula that assists when an error occurs. 

As a member of the NCRA Informatics Committee, Ronda G Broome, MS, MSHMI, ODS-C will discuss a feature in Microsoft Excel under the Data tab called Power Query. Power Query allows for data to be manipulated, combined and loaded in one area and therefore data can be updated in an automated way allowing for a more efficient workflow. 

Abstracting and Coding Mini-Learning Shorts


Using the Manuals: Coding Lung

Using the Manuals: Breast Cases

Melanoma Surgery Coding

In this presentation, NCRA Education Committee Members Juliet Wilkins, MA, ODS and Monica Reece, RHIT, ODS-C discuss the manuals used to correctly code histology, site, and stage with 2023 data collection changes for lung case scenarios. They also address pertinent information to include when coding a lung case.

In this presentation, NCRA Education Committee member Cynthia Jeffrey, RHIT, ODS-C provides a breast case and works through the scenario using the manuals in the most effective way. She provides handy tips and techniques for finding the information needed.

Juliet Wilkins, MA, ODS-C will discuss correct coding of surgical codes for melanoma cases. The presentation includes information on specific manuals, pertinent information from the operative report, the difference between surgical procedures for the treatment of melanoma and lymph node procedures for melanoma cases.

Managing Your Cancer Registry Policies & Procedures


Using the Manuals: Grade Coding

Barbara Dearmon-Neyland, ODS-C will discuss the importance of the cancer registry policies and procedures, their purpose, structure, and the annual review process. She will highlight the Commission on Cancer’s requirements for accredited cancer programs and tools available. She will provide strategies and tips on keeping ahead of accreditation reviews.

Members of the NCRA Education Committee will discuss cancer case reportability and the tools used by registrars, different methods of casefinding, the casefinding list and non-reportable cases, and the standards that guide registrars.

 Monica Reece, RHIT, ODS-C, from the NCRA Education Committee, will discuss general grade coding instructions and focus on grade time frames, grade clinical and pathological and the post therapy grading rules.

Class of Case: Analytic or Non-Analytic?

Summary Stage 2018 Overview


Barbara Dearmon, BS, ODS-C will discuss how Class of Case reflects the facility’s role in managing the cancer cases, whether the cancer is required to be reported by CoC, and whether the case was diagnosed after the program’s Reference Date. Participants will better understand the divisions of Class of Case and be able to differentiate between Analytic and Non-Analytic cases.

In this presentation, NCRA Education Committee member Susanna Mitchell, ODS-C, reviews the general rules and updates of Summary Stage (SS) 2018 and provides examples of correctly assigning SS 2018 Stage.

Presenter Juliet Wilkins, MA, ODS-C will discuss the follow-up process and its relation to accurate data in the registry record. She will provide answers to questions about differences in terminology used by physicians and that which is used by cancer registrars in the registry. The presentation will provide examples to illustrate the differences in the definitions between recurrence of a disease and disease-free.