St. Joseph's/Candler Health System

Our Cancer Center Showcase continues this month with St. Joseph’s/Candler, located in beautiful and historic Savannah, GA. The Cancer Registry at St. Joseph’s/Candler dates back 25 years. The health system is comprised of 119 locations, including two hospitals, countless specialty offices and a multitude of infusion centers scattered across the city of Savannah, Chatham County, Bluffton, SC and other outlying areas of the region.

The Oncology team at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion (LCRP) offers a very comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of patients with cancer. The LCRP is one of the most innovative oncology programs in the Southeast, utilizing a patient centered approach to care.

In 2014, a partnership between the LCRP and Northside Hospital Cancer Institute in Atlanta was selected by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to implement a new cancer research program that succeeded in reaching more Georgians in their own cities and towns. This program, called the NCI Community Oncology Research Program, continues to provide Georgians with deeper cancer services and broader regional accessibility, with 110 oncology clinical providers in 41 different locations throughout the state, as well as the clinical trial leadership and research management services of Georgia Center for Oncology Research and Education. St. Joseph’s/Candler is accredited by both the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC).

The registry is led by Kandace West, Cancer Analytics Program Manager, who states that both the longevity of St. Joseph’s/Candler’s CoC accreditation as well as being the only CoC accredited facility in the region signifies the health system’s dedication to the area and the patients that they serve.

Currently, the registry staff consists of five team members, one contracted employee and a manager, but they intend to expand the team by adding two additional team members. The registry supports a hybrid staff schedule. More than 3,200 cases are accessioned annually, with over 2,500 of the cases being analytic.

The registry assists with cancer conference coordination and telemedicine efforts for 62 cancer conferences. These conferences are comprised of Breast, GI, Pulmonary, Head and Neck and Hepatobiliary sites. Additionally, the registry receives an abundance of data requests from physicians, research departments, administration and finance, as well as many other departments within the oncology service line.

West states that with a combination of the clinical data collected in the registry and hospital claims data, they can fulfill every request.

The cancer registry collaborates with both the Patient Navigation and Community Outreach departments.
“Since we have reliable data and powerful analytic tools, our partnerships (both external and internal) are effective and successful,” West said. “Our cancer registry team truly supports every department with invaluable information. Our cancer registry is the backbone of multiple data sources and the fact that we can easily make a story from that data and use that story to enhance patient care is pertinent to our mission.”

St Joseph’s/Candler has been a CRStar client for 24 years. They have utilized the automation features within CRStar to automate the import of EMR and disease index information for casefinding and follow-up. Ms. West states that these processes are bringing a positive impact to the registry by increasing productivity and efficiency and they hope to automate more data in the near future.

“Our staff greatly benefits from CRStar training and support services and many other additional offerings,” West said. “CRStar has been fantastic to work with as there is always a staff member ready to help. We have had many new team members that required software training and CRStar consistently delivers. What I love is that CRStar doesn’t stop with newcomers but supports the more experienced and seasoned employees as well. CRStar customer service is quick and responsive and exactly what we need in this fast-paced registry setting.”

“The cancer registry team is the ‘secret weapon’ for our oncology service line,” West said.

“The team is well versed in registry standards and practices and are eager to share their vast knowledge to our newest/less experienced co-workers,” she said. “They’re eager to participate in continued educational opportunities and are genuinely passionate about what they do and in improving cancer care with each keystroke.”