The Role of the Hospital Registry in Achieving Outcome Benchmarks in Cancer Care

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The hospital registry is a valuable tool for evaluating quality benchmarks in cancer care. As payment for performance standards are adopted, the registry will assume a more dynamic and economically important role in the hospital setting. At Carolinas Medical Center, the registry has been a key instrument in the comparison of state and national benchmarks and for program improvement in meeting standards in the care of breast and colon cancer. One of the significant successes of the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) Hospital Approvals Program is the support of hospital registries, especially in small and midsized community hospitals throughout the United States. To become a member of the Hospital Approvals Program, a registry must be staffed appropriately and include analytic data for patients who have their primary diagnosis or treatment at the facility [1]. The current challenge for most hospitals is to prove that the registry has specific worth when many facets of care are not compensated. Unfortunately a small number of hospitals have disbanded their registries because of the short-sighted decision that the registry and its personnel are a drain on the hospital system and do not generate revenue. In the present era of meeting benchmarks for care as a prelude to being paid by third party and governmental agencies [2,3], a primary argument is that the registry can be revenue-enhancing by quantifying specific outcomes in cancer care. Without having appropriate registry and abstract capability, the hospital leadership cannot measure the specific outcome benchmarks required in the era of “pay for performance” or “pay for participation”.

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