Our Cancer Center Showcase continues this month with Augusta Health located in Virginia’s beautiful Shenandoah Valley. Augusta Health’s main campus and cancer center are both located in Fishersville, VA, with 18 primary care, internal medicine and urgent care facilities serving the surrounding communities of the Shenandoah Valley.
The cancer registry at Augusta Health began in 1991 and became CoC accredited in 1994, achieving NAPBC accreditation status in 2014. The registry currently accessions 850 analytic cases annually, with an additional 100 non-analytic cases. They follow roughly 5,000 patients annually. The registry is managed by Jessica Washington, CTR, who is joined by an additional CTR, both who work from home. Jessie was recently recognized for her 25 years of service to Augusta Health and for her commitment to the program.
Augusta Health currently holds four weekly tumor boards: one general, one thoracic and two breast tumor boards. The registry staff participates on site for tumor boards and plays a significant role in coordinating, scheduling, preparing, and setting up. Additionally, the registry monitors attendance and takes minutes for each tumor board.
Augusta Health recognizes the value of cancer registry data and frequently asks for data. The Clinical Trials department utilizes registry site tables for trial accrual. Metrics are supplied to both administration and the clinical/physician staff. Additionally, the cancer committee relies on the registry to supply data for fulfillment of the CoC and NAPBC standards. Data is provided to the medical oncology staff for quality and QOPI compliance.
The cancer registry utilizes several interfaces for casefinding and follow-up. A user-initiated import from the EMR disease index is imported into the CRStar Cancer Registry System monthly. This imports data for casefinding and updates follow-up of existing cases. The registry most recently incorporated an automated pathology interface, where pathology reports are integrated with the software in a more real-time schedule. Ms. Washington states that the registry looks forward to the increase in efficiency, productivity, and improvement in their follow-up rates.
When asked what effect the longevity of their CoC accreditation status has had on their cancer program, Ms. Washington says, “the data collected contributes to the appropriateness of embarking on new equipment, treatment models, clinical trials, screening programs, and additional program certifications, such as QOPI certification.”
Effective with January 2022 cases, the cancer registry began collecting data on the Breast Program Maintenance screen of the abstract in CRStar. Collecting this important information will enable them to assist the cancer committee in monitoring NAPBC standards.
Augusta Health has been an ERS partner for more than 20 years. When asked what drove the decision to choose ERS as their vendor and to maintain the relationship for such a long time, Ms. Washington says that ERS adds to the ease of abstracting data with its ability to implement updates while maintaining the appropriate flow for data entry. She continues to state that ERS consistently provides timely updates making it possible to meet CoC and state data submission requirements and the reporting management module makes maintaining and managing the registry according to CoC standards and state requirements possible.
According to Ms. Washington, vender support is key when system issues arise or there is difficulty in running a report for a data request or answering a committee QI study. She states, “ERS support is organized and very prompt with responses. I really appreciate the communication and timeliness of the support team. I take advantage of every educational offering as well as the always available Resource Page because they assist me in keeping up with the changing demands of a cancer registry coordinator. The registry staff appreciate the professionalism and commitment of the ERS staff, and I have personally come to depend on the care and support that ERS has shown over the years.”