Electronic data collection system makes cancer management easier for patients and doctors
12/14/2021, World Health Organization
A national electronic cancer data collection system in Georgia makes the cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment process more efficient for patients and doctors, and allows the government to devise better cancer management strategies.
Georgia first implemented a cancer registry system in 2015. Cancer registries are an important tool in helping to identify trends and develop public health approaches against cancer. Prior to the adoption of the registry, data and patient information was collected through routine surveillance at medical facilities that provided different services for cancer patients.
“Unfortunately, this method of data collection was unable to account for all cancer cases in the country, which made cancer management planning more difficult,” says Dr Nana Mebonia, Head of the Chronic Disease Division at the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health in Georgia. “The adoption of the cancer registry system in 2015 allowed for more efficient and comprehensive collection of cancer-related data throughout the country.”
Data in one unified system for every step in cancer case management
In 2019, Georgia launched the Unified Electronic System for Cancer Data Collection, which includes the cancer registry system and brings together information on cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment. The system is used by all medical practitioners involved in the cancer management and screening of breast, cervical and colorectal cancer.
Under the Unified Electronic System, every step in the cancer case management process is noted in the system, making it easy for different physicians to know exactly which procedures have already taken place.
Notably, the Unified Electronic System also benefits patients because they do not have to carry around their diagnosis papers when seeing different specialists as part of their treatment process – everything is already there in the system.
Finally, the government benefits from the Unified Electronic System by getting reliable data about cancer and gaining the ability to estimate the survival rates of patients and other indicators of cancer care, which helps with the overall planning of cancer management in the country.
“The information collected in the system supports assessments of cancer prevention and management activities,” says Dr Mebonia. “In 2020 – 5 years after the implementation of the cancer registry – we were able to assess the 5-year survival rates for different types of cancer. This gives rise to the possibility of identifying weak links in the chain of cancer care and to make suitable changes in cancer control approaches in the country. The assessment of the survival rates revealed that they are much lower in comparison to developed countries. The identification of predictive factors for low survival rates of cancer will allow us to develop evidence-based approaches to cancer control in the country.”
This feature story is one of a series to showcase how digital technologies can be harnessed to provide smarter health care. These case stories are among those presented at the WHO European conference on tackling noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) through digital solutions.