The American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) has determined that defining a minimum set of data elements for radiation therapy is high priority activity. There is a deep and wide interest in leveraging Big Data in the oncology space as shown through the recent New York Times article,New Cancer Treatments Lie Hidden Under Mountains of Paperwork. Identifying a standard set of data elements is an important step in promoting Big Data initiatives.
ASTRO has also received requests for data elements from other societies, database architects, electronic health record (EHR) vendors and the pharmaceutical industry. These requests point to an increasing and shared interest in capturing radiation oncology data within registries, quality measurement, interoperability initiatives and clinical trials. In addition to these technical priorities, this effort can improve overall clinical care for cancer patients by increasing the visibility of radiation oncology treatment in other systems and reducing the time required for data entry by practice staff.
A review of radiation oncology data elements currently in use within national databases, ASTRO programs and resources from other cancer-related societies was conducted to identify possible overlap and priority. This analysis generated a short list of data elements to facilitate the myriad of use cases as well as define the minimum radiation oncology relevant data that should be included in all scenarios. Promoting this list provides an opportunity to educate those outside of the field about what data is necessary to capture and transfer.
Minimum Data Elements
ASTRO believes the promotion of these minimum data elements will support many of the organization’s objectives as follows: