According to the American Cancer Society, roughly 1.9 Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in 2021. Research shows that up to 50% of cancer cases are preventable with the knowledge we have today. The month of February is National Cancer Prevention Month, dedicated to educating individuals on how to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Certified Tumor Registrars (CTR) also play a large role in gathering the data needed for cancer research, treatment, and prevention. We thought this would be a great time to share a unique project facilitated by our team and the journey to assist a client develop their own team of CTRs.

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) requires accredited facilities to utilized CTRs for abstracting; the process of documenting a cancer patient’s entire journey into data which is then reported to state and national cancer registries. The abstract includes data about the patient’s demographics, diagnostic studies, cancer staging, treatment and follow-up.  This data is vital to research and treatment advancements. There are more than 1,500 CoC-accredited facilities in the US today and just 5,500+ CTRs.  That allows for less than 4 CTRs per CoC-accredited facility, not to mention the countless other non-accredited programs that also strive to employ CTRs.  Given the number of current CTRs and their proximity to retirement, it is important to focus on growing the next generation of CTRs.

HCG was approached by a client who was exploring the option of developing a ‘home grown’ education program to  bring their outsourced cancer registry back in house. The organization  saw this as an opportunity to provide tenured staff a new career path. Haugen’s resident CTR, Jennifer McCann, lead a group of staff through  NCRA-certified online education, creating a tailored hands-on learning approach. Jennifer supplemented the online coursework with group calls, discussion board activities, and teach-backs designed to assist an adult learner. This approach created a team environment amongst the program participants as well.

In a recent discussion with Jennifer, she expressed how impressed she was by this organization’s commitment to their staff members. “It shows the commitment the organization has to its people.  Bringing the registry in house is a benefit to the organization of course, but they are also providing these staff members with a tremendous career path.  Being a CTR is a tough, very specialized role, but there’s an incredible  sense of pride you get from the work. I would love to see more organizations take this approach.”  Cancer Registry is a great opportunity for individuals who want to work in a dynamic environment. HIM staff and coders should consider cancer registry as a potential career path.

If your organization is interested in investing in your staff by developing your own team of CTRs, HCG has the tools and expertise to provide this service.   Contact us for additional details!

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