The Queensland Cancer Registry (QCR) receives cancer notifications on behalf of Queensland Health. These notifications provide information to develop cancer control strategies for which the timely identification and analysis of cancer types is crucial. However, with 75% of notifications received in paper form, the QCR was facing a backlog of up to five years’ worth of cancer notifications that still needed recording. This backlog, combined with a labour intensive data retrieval process, drastically hindered the provision of data required to provide reliable reporting and strategy development. In addition, the hard copy notifications were filed manually across 93 filing bays of approximately 350,000 patient records, consuming around 60% of the QCR office floor space. The Queensland Cancer Control Analysis Team (QCCAT) needed to find a way of moving the manual process towards a solution that could process notifications faster. It called for a supplier that was going to be cost competitive with a thorough understanding of QCR business requirements. This party would also need to provide quality assurance of the electronic conversion and patient confidentiality, given the nature of the data, and comply with strict Queensland Health archiving policies.
Avantix had previously executed document scanning for other large Queensland government projects and was familiar with the archiving policies. It conducted several test scanning exercises of QCR records and was able to not only develop flexible software compatible with existing Queensland Health systems, but could also commence the job immediately. Together, QCCAT and Avantix developed and implemented the Cancer Registry Imaging System (CRIS); a custom built record scanning system that would assist in the electronic management and processing of patient records and cancer notifications.
CRIS enabled the scanning, importation and digital storage of the 350,000 paper records on file as well as any new notifications coming through. Through the efficient electronic management and processing of patient records and cancer notifications, CRIS improved the timeliness of QCR reporting, reduced manual handling of records and data, and allowed for easy access to data for approved researchers and QCR staff, all while improving data integrity and quality assurance. It also permanently freed up much needed physical space at the QCR office, previously required for files. Most importantly, it allowed the QCR to cut its backlog by half to allow more effective supply of data thus supporting the faster development of cancer control strategies.
“CRIS synchronises with the database that the cancer registry uses – it cuts down duplication of records and reduces labour,” Julie Moore, Cancer Systems Coordinator, QCCAT.