PIMS project will provide timely access to pathology information

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While we might be more familiar with the ways technology has helped to enhance patient care, it can also help improve the delivery of services and help connect practitioners to the additional knowledge and expertise they need to make faster and better decisions. That’s just the intent of PIMS.

Recently, Cancer Care Ontario has developed and piloted a custom Pathology Information Management System, or PIMS, to allow laboratories the ability to electronically submit information to CCO’s Ontario Cancer Registry (OCR). The OCR is a computerized database of information on all Ontario residents who have been newly diagnosed with cancer or who have died of cancer.

The purpose of PIMS is to develop an electronic solution to collect pathology information from over 85 labs across Ontario and, most importantly, to improve the timeliness, completeness and quality of the information collected. The system will also provide a more cost effective reporting solution for the hospitals and Cancer Care Ontario (CCO).

Each year, the Ontario Cancer Registry receives over 85,000 pathology reports from more than 85 hospital-based and private laboratories across Ontario. The pathology report contains information essential for treatment and further analysis. Also included in the report is the initial cancer diagnosis, disease site and histological stage data at the time of diagnosis.

Currently, a pathology report is submitted to the Ontario Cancer Registry “manually”. In other words, once the pathology report is completed, this paper version must be copied and either faxed or mailed to the OCR. When the report is received by the OCR office, it must then be sorted, coded and entered into the database. PIMS will allow pathologists to electronically submit this information and will permit OCR to collect this important data in a more timely and efficient way.

PIMS will provide Cancer Care Ontario, participating partners and health care providers opportunities that will address on-going and critical issues such as rapidly identifying patients for research purposes and clinical trials, providing more current incidence statistics, tracking trends and near real-time reporting of pathology results. The goal is a reporting system to support quality management, funding and efficient operations of the cancer system in Ontario.

PIMS will commence implementation in early 2003 and connect over 85 pathology labs across Ontario by summer 2004.

The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care has provided funding support for the PIMS project.

To learn more about PIMS please contact Sarina Lecce at 416.971.9800 ext. 1478 or by email at sarina.lecce @cancercare.on.ca.