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College of American Pathologists Releases New Updated CAP Electronic Cancer Checklist (CAP eCC)

CAP eCC Advances Health Information Interoperability for Cancer Reporting and Research

Northfield, Ill. (Vocus) January 7, 2010 -- The College of American Pathologists (CAP) released the new CAP electronic Cancer Checklists (CAP eCC)—the XML version of the updated CAP Cancer Checklists. The CAP eCC is a tool used to enhance and advance cancer reporting.

The latest CAP eCC release contains all of the new and updated content in the CAP Cancer protocols posted October 2009 CAP Web site at The CAP eCC facilitate uniform cancer description and reporting, including elements from the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual 7th Edition. Content is also partially encoded with SNOMED Clinical Terms® (SNOMED CT®)—a globally recognized controlled medical vocabulary.

The amount of information pathologists provide in their reports on cancer specimens has increased in recent years, due to the expansion of scientific knowledge about cancer and continued advances in healthcare, such as molecular diagnostics and personalized medicine.

"A new cancer diagnosis profoundly affects a patient's life. A generation ago, a patient's cancer pathology diagnosis was often just a few lines long,” said John Madden, MD, PhD, FCAP, associate professor of pathology at Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C. and co-chair of the CAP’s Pathology Electronic Reporting Task Force. “With the current explosion of knowledge about cancer, the pathology diagnosis now often extends to multiple pages, and incorporates individualized information about literally dozens of critical tumor features, including the molecular and genetic characteristics of the patient's cancer, that play a major role in determining treatment success.”

The CAP Cancer Protocols and Checklists, developed by the CAP Cancer Committee, aid pathologists in cancer reporting and are recognized as a “gold standard” in cancer case summary reporting. The synoptic, or standardized, checklist format provides consistent and meaningful information that enable healthcare professionals to manage and study clinical data necessary to help improve patient care.

“The comprehensiveness and complexity of today's pathology reports increases the challenge of effectively recording and sharing this information accurately and effectively,” Madden said. “The CAP has confronted the challenge head-on with this timely release of a data standard for communicating and storing cancer report data electronically."

The CAP eCC advance the management and interoperability of health information through its XML format that can be integrated easily into existing pathology and cancer registry systems. Health data coded with SNOMED CT allows multiple interdisciplinary providers to accurately communicate and share patient information within an electronic health record system (EHR). Data can also be transmitted in real time, improving timeliness and accuracy of cancer reporting.

In addition, the CAP eCC, focusing directly on real-world medical content standards from physician-experts on the CAP’s Cancer Committee, can illustrate how technology directly supports meaningful use of patient data in the cancer-care setting.

“The CAP eCC is a powerful tool in the war on cancer delivering on the promise of improved patient outcomes through the use of health information technology by leveraging universally accepted standards such as XML and SNOMED CT. Developed by key stakeholders from pathology, surgery, cancer registries, and public health, it provides the basis for comprehensive cancer reporting across multiple systems,” said Kevin Donnelly, vice president and general manager, CAP SNOMED Terminology Solutions, the CAP division that produces the CAP eCC.

The CAP eCC have been developed in collaboration with many other organizations, including: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Collaborative Staging initiative (CS), Cancer Care Ontario, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR). In July 2009, the Canadian Association of Pathologists endorsed the use of the CAP cancer checklists. Use of the CAP eCC also allows for compliance with CCO’s reporting requirements.

Additional CAP Cancer Checklists are expected to be released and posted later in 2010. Future releases of the CAP eCC will then be distributed to licensees to reflect the new content changes.

About SNOMED Terminology Solutions and the College of American Pathologists
SNOMED Terminology Solutions™ (STS), a division of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), is the leading organization in pursuing semantic interoperability for electronic health records by offering customized best-practice terminology implementation and education services.

Our goal is to ultimately improve patient care through supporting the pathologist’s role as chief diagnostician/clinical care advisor and advancing interoperable EHRs. The Diagnostic Intelligence and Health Information Technology (DIHIT), a department within CAP STS, is committed to advancing health IT standards, practices, and tools, such as the CAP Diagnostic Work Station initiative; and standardized electronic reporting, including the CAP electronic Cancer Checklists (CAP eCC). The CAP is a medical society serving more than 17,000 physician members and the laboratory community throughout the world. It is the world’s largest association composed exclusively of board certified pathologists and is widely considered the leader in laboratory quality assurance. The College is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective patient care. For more information about CAP STS and DIHIT, visit

SNOMED CT® is a copyrighted work of the International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation. ©2002-2010 International Health Terminology Standards Development Organisation (IHTSDO®). All rights reserved. SNOMED CT® was originally created by the College of American Pathologists. “SNOMED,” “SNOMED CT,” and IHTSDO are registered trademarks of the IHTSDO. All other trademarks used in this document are the property of their respective owners.

Candace Robertson      

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