Evaluation of the electronic synoptic pathology reporting initiative

In this 2017 report, learn about the barriers and enablers of implementing electronic systems and pathology standards in six provinces

This report evaluates the implementation of electronic systems and pathology standards in Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, and Manitoba. The evaluation includes what worked well, what could have been done differently, and what were the key enablers and barriers.

As well, this report looks at ways to support electronic synoptic pathology reporting, indicators to measure each jurisdiction’s reporting, and whether the initiative’s goals were achieved.

 The Electronic Synoptic Pathology Reporting initiative’s (ESPRI’s) goals are to:

  1. Support the adoption of electronic synoptic-pathology reporting for breast, colorectal, lung, prostate, and endometrial cancers.
  2. Maintain and promote the standards and their adoption.
  3. Use performance indicators to promote the use of standardized data.

The ESPRI has contributed to cancer control in Canada through consistent action that supports high-quality diagnosis and clinical care:

  • Ontario, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, British Columbia, and Manitoba have the means to capture standardized and comprehensive pathology, diagnosis, staging, and prognosis data, by implementing the pathology standard protocols (developed by CAP in their information systems).
  • A total of 850 or 67 per cent of Canadian pathologists have now transitioned from narrative to electronic reporting in those six provinces.
  • Provincial and regional health systems, cancer agencies, pathologists, and other clinicians can now access diagnosis, staging, and treatment data to examine distributions of cancer-cell anatomy, the extent to which cancer cells spread, the potential for cancer recurrence, patient prognosis, and survival. That information was unavailable before implementing ESPRI.

This report’s purpose was to gain insights from the six provinces about the key enablers and barriers on four main areas related to ESPRI and whether its goals were achieved:

  • Program implementation
  • Engagement
  • Stakeholder experience
  • Partnership

Key informant interviews, surveys, and document reviews went into this report. Its findings can help us learn from experience, find ways to overcome barriers, give ways to sustain ESPRI, inform the Partnership’s future planning, and help other interested jurisdictions adopt ESPRI.

This report’s recommendations may be helpful in the following ways:

  • Increasing the use of standardized pathology in clinical practice to improve the quality of cancer diagnosis, staging, and treatment
  • Improving operational plans to maintain ESPRI in six provinces
  • Implementing ESPRI in prospective provinces
  • Analyzing solutions to standardize processes for cancer care by using information technology

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