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Mother Sings a Precious Song to Her Dying Daughter

As cancer registrars we should never forget the purpose and people behind our work!

Many medical guidelines don’t consider costs

Published in:  The Baltimore Sun / Reuters, May 8, 2013  

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Professional medical societies don’t often consider costs when they’re developing their treatment guidelines for specific conditions, according to a new study. Researchers found that just over half of the top medical societies with at least 10,000 members considered costs when developing best practices. The other half either implicitly considered costs or didn’t address them at all. “Even when they said they looked at costs, they didn’t seem to have a clear, consistent or rigorous way to do so,” said Dr. Steven Pearson, the study’s senior author and a visiting scientist in the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Hard Work

NCRA 2011 Awards Recipients

Congratulations to all the National Cancer Registrar’s Association (NCRA) 2011 award winners!  Awards were given at the 35th Annual Education Conference held in Washington, D.C., in April, 2012.

  • Volunteer Excellence Award: Louise Schuman, MA, CTR

To see the names and achievements of the ELekta Impac Awards for Best Papers and the Danielle Chufar Memorial Scholarship Award, click here.



Cancer Registry Leadership Mentoring Launched

On Tuesday, May 22, 2012 Registry Mindset was pleased to sponsor the first Cancer Registry Leadership Mentoring Group.  Members on the call will participate in monthly calls and webinars to grow the leadership skills of each member as well as those of cancer registrars around the world. 

Vision Statement:  We envision a future where every cancer registrar:

  • Has the mindset, skills and resources needed to consistently achieve successful outcomes as effective leaders. 
  • Is empowered to enthusiastically explore new leadership opportunities that support advances in cancer registration, science, medicine and quality control.
  • Is engaged in a culture of mentoring other cancer registrars, and
  • Influences his/her team to achieve excellence in oncology healthcare.

If you, or another cancer registrar would like to join this dynamic, forward-thinking group of cancer registry professionals click here and sign-up today!


What are Accountable Care Organizations?

The buzzword is not new, ACO’s or accountable care organizations.  But, do you know what they are, how they work, and how they impact cancer patients or yourself? 

Cancer Registrars should be familiar with ACOs and the role they play in healthcare.  We’ve linked you to an excellent video below that describes the ACO in simple terms.  When watching the video, pay particular attention to the section on use the use of patient care data between the ACO and specialists.  For cancer registrars this should be a trigger to thinking of new opportunities for the use and evaluation of quality cancer data and the role that we will play in providing it. 

Getting the Brain in Gear

What do you do each morning to get your brain in gear? Sometimes we think we need to do something complex or difficult when it is the simplest things that work best.

Dr. Henry Cloud has some great insight on how to get rid of the “toxic stuff” and move ahead. . . “because every breath you take is headed somewhere.”

Click Here to Play 60 Second Audio Recording by Dr Henry Cloud

Dr. Cloud is a leadership consultant, best-selling author, and speaker, selling over 5 million copies of his books. He is highly regarded in faith-based and secular organizations for his ability to connect with people on topics of personal growth, conflict, leadership and performance at home and in business.


Why Replace ICD-9?

Cancer Registrars have been using ICD-10 mortality codes for some time and we are familiar with coding and standards changes.  But, what is the “inside scoop” on why are ICD-9 codes are being replaced?  Here are some quick facts on what is happening in the industry.       

ICD-9-CM is a diagnostic and procedural classification system originally developed in the 1970’s.  As you might expect, its use has surpassed the original design and ICD-9 is no longer effective.  It simply cannot be stretched or updated any further to support 21st century medicine and healthcare.      

United States is the only industrial nation that has not upgraded its morbidity classification system.  By upgrading to ICD-10 we will improve our ability to monitor and respond to international health events, increase the value of theUS’s investment in SNOMED-CT®, and help provider organizations to achieve better benefits from the electronic health record (EHR). 

Briefly, ICD-9: 

  • Does not have adequate specificity and detail.
  • Is running out of capacity and its limited structural design cannot accommodate new advances in medicine, medical technology, or the rapidly growing need for quality data.
  • Is obsolete and no longer reflects current knowledge of disease processes, medical terminology or 21st century practices of medicine.
  • Impedes the use of a standardized system needed to compare costs and outcomes from different medical technologies and specialties.
  • Cannot support theUnited States’ transition to an interoperable health data exchange format.  

In summary, replacing the ICD-9 system with ICD-10 will help us to better maintain clinical data comparability with the rest of the world regarding conditions and diseases that require healthcare services.  ICD-10 makes it easier, and this directly affects cancer registrars, to share disease and mortality data during these critical times for public health.  

Cancer Registrars are already asking what the “ripple effect” will be for them.  The answer is simple, we don’t know yet.  Perhaps there will be change, but until ICD-10 is fully implemented the cancer registrar would be better served by developing an understanding of what is needed to analyze and report accurate and quality data in the 21st century and adopting a mindset that welcomes expanded use of cancer registry data and patient care outcomes.

To learn more about ICD-10 visit the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) website by clicking here.  Check back to our website for future posts about what is happening with ICD-10 and other planned training events such as webinars, white paper summaries and more.  

If you find this post helpful, add a comment below and tell us why!


Michele Webb creator of the cancer registrar’s best online resource, is a nationally recognized, certified cancer registrar, committed to Cancer Registry leadership and professional education as a coach, mentor, motivational speaker and author.  You have permission to repost this article as long as do not alter it in any way and give a link back and credit to the author and this URL.   


How Do You Shape Your World?

How has your day gone so far?  If you are like many people you went about your business today with some ups, and some downs.  For some it may have been worse, or perhaps even better.  Shaping our world is something that we CAN and should be doing.  Nothing should be left to chance or placed in the hands of someone else.  Gary Lew said this so well, “This is your world.  Shape it or someone else will.” 

We have the power and ability within ourselves to not only shape our world, but to create a life that is beyond our wildest dreams and imagination.  We are not saddled with what someone else expects of us.  One only has to look at the Special Olympics, or other people that have overcome significant hardship or challenges to do something great.  So, why is that so many people, with the world at their fingertips and so many blessings and gifts in hand, can’t make a go at success or happiness?  

Joel Osteen, in his book Your Best Life Now: 7 steps to Living at Your Full Potential, said, “You must make a decision that you are going to move on.  It won’t happen automatically.  You will have to rise up and say, ‘I don’t care how hard this is, I don’t care how disappointed I am, I’m not going to let this get the best of me.  I’m moving on with my life.” 

Each of us has potential and the God-given choices abilities to use that for something great.  How we go about it, or how we shape our life to use these resources is entirely up to us.  Cancer Registrars can easily get overwhelmed with rules, changes, guidelines, coding requirements and the constant change and shifting that is happening in healthcare today.  But, even with all that, they can rise above it and change their world.  

So, how are you shaping your world today?  What do YOU do that makes a difference?  What do YOU do that keeps you going no matter what?  Please share with us your tips and secrets.  It is by sharing and helping one another that we grow.  

In closing, consider this statement by Maria Shriver, who I think is an excellent example of someone who has risen above the fray many times.  “Make the job a reflection of you, as opposed to you trying to fit into the job.”  Cancer Registrars, does your work reflect well of you or are you swimming in self-doubt?  Are you bringing your expertise to the table to meet the organization’s business need, or are you slumped back in your chair waiting for someone to come to you?  Are you using your skills, talents and worth to shape and serve your world?


Michele Webb creator of the cancer registrar’s best online resource, is a nationally recognized, certified cancer registrar, committed to Cancer Registry leadership and professional education as a coach, mentor, motivational speaker and author.  You have permission to repost this article as long as do not alter it in any way and give a link back and credit to the author and this URL.   


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