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Balancing National and Local Data Needs in Cancer Care

The current software solutions capture some of the key mandated data for national cancer reporting, yet they still fall short of positively impacting cancer care in the UK. 


These digital solutions have the capacity to do much more than capture cancer waiting times and performance metrics on a macro level. They have the potential to truly optimise care for cancer patients.

national and local cancer data

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Why is nationally-mandated cancer data not enough?


The systems used in cancer care are not designed to support or facilitate care pathways at the individual patient level, so the data collected misses the finer and more nuanced details that often make a significant difference in delivering care.


Clinicians will find themselves with incomplete or insufficient data, which can affect their ability to make well-informed decisions and prevent them from providing the best possible care to their patients.


But this issue extends beyond the immediate patient care scenario. It also impacts the continuous quality improvement that drives innovation in fields like cancer care. Without reliable and sufficient data, the development of effective, innovative treatments can be hindered.


It's worth noting that many clinicians resort to using Excel spreadsheets or manual procedures to compile the necessary data for their patients. This is not just for more efficiency but also due to a lack of trust in the databases. 


So while nationally mandated cancer data is undoubtedly important, it's not enough. We need more comprehensive and accurate data at the individual patient level to ensure optimal care and drive innovation in cancer treatment.


Including cancer data at the local-level gives a complete picture


So how can we bridge this gap and ensure that both national and local data needs are met?


We need a more comprehensive cancer system. We need a software solution that can facilitate clinical workflows while supporting the data collection for cancer registries—one that works for both the macro and micro levels of cancer care, supporting both national and local needs. 


This balance is crucial in order to reflect national needs while catering for the cancer teams that are actually delivering services on the ground. It ensures that no detail is overlooked and that the services provided are in sync with broader health objectives, thereby enhancing the overall impact of care.


Supporting the future of cancer care


National cancer data holds huge importance, but there is a growing need for detailed, granular data that lies within the complexity of clinical workflows. The key is to leverage technologies that can balance both of these needs. The digital solution should be capable of standardising the broader, national view while also capturing the local perspective.


We need to ensure that the cancer systems are built to support this balance, so they may pave the way for more effective, patient-centric cancer care. 


In the end, it's not just about cancer data, but how we use that data to improve the lives of those battling cancer. That is, after all, the ultimate goal.

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