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IBM, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare of Paraguay, the National Cancer Institute, C/Can, ASCP and ICCR works together to address a critical worldwide gap in the areas of pathology and cancer surveillance

February 14, 2020

IBM, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare of Paraguay, the National Cancer Institute, C/Can, ASCP and ICCR works together to address a critical worldwide gap in the areas of pathology and cancer surveillance

Institutions formed a multi-sectoral collaboration to explore in the quality of pathology information that is shared with clinicians and cancer registries

IBM, the Ministry of Public Health and Social Welfare of Paraguay, the Paraguay National Cancer Institute, City Cancer Challenge Foundation (C/Can), American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP) and International Collaboration on Cancer Reporting (ICCR) announce the key recommendations of the pro bono consulting project to improve the process of generating cancer pathology reports. During the last four weeks, this multi-sectoral team worked together as part of the IBM Service Corps program, which deploys IBM professionals worldwide to help address civic, social, health and environmental challenges. The IBM Service Corps team collaborated with local hospitals, laboratories, and pathologists in Asuncion to develop a proof-of-concept for a multilingual reporting tool for cancer pathology that would enable pathologists around the world to standardize pathology reports.

This partnership was created to address a critical existing worldwide gap in the area of pathology and registration. Quality incidence and mortality cancer data are essential for cancer control planning and for adequate decision making on allocation of resources. Timely and quality pathology reporting is key to make proper treatment recommendations. Thus, pathology reporting is required for both clinical management and for accurate cancer registration.

The multi-disciplinary team of developers, user experience designers, business analysts, and health technology experts proposed an accompanying technical strategy with detailed recommendations to accelerate and improve cancer pathology reporting. These recommendations were informed by an analysis of current pathology reporting processes from a health systems perspective and based on proven best practices for the implementation and use of technologies.

At the core of the technical recommendations are considerations for scalability, sustainability, and data privacy for digitizing cancer pathology reporting. The recommendations also highlight the need for interoperability between digital pathology reporting and existing systems for laboratory information management, electronic medical records, cancer registries, and other preferred digital tools.

This multi-sectoral collaboration brought together different experts to analyze the processes, weaknesses and strengths related to reporting cancer pathology findings, and then propose recommendations to optimize the processes of recording, sharing and analyzing medical information. This is an important step to improve the quality of cancer care during the pathological diagnosis, to seek standardization of patient reports, and make records quickly and effectively available to support knowledge of the epidemiology.