The College of American Pathologists' Cancer Protocol Templates are considered the gold standard in cancer reporting. While previously paper based, the electronic cancer checklists (eCC) now allow for standardized, searchable cancer data to be accessed instantly anywhere in the world.
CAP is continuously improving its protocols, and it can be a challenge for Pathology departments to maintain their electronic versions and keep pace with the changes. On its website, the CAP offers resources and links to partners who can help accredited laboratories stay up to date with the latest versions of the checklists.
CAP's Most Recent Release
In June of 2017, the CAP released updates to their resection Cancer Protocols to meet the new American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) 8th edition Cancer Staging Manual requirements. More information is available on the CAP release notes.
The electronic release updated 53 of the existing eCCs. There were over 7300 changes including updates to stage classification, tumor extension, margins, lymph nodes and more. That is a lot of changes for labs who manually update their checklists!
In addition to the updates mentioned, there are other important notes about the recent update.
- The CAP has not released eCC updates for biopsy, TURP, or TURBT templates. These templates are not required for accreditation by the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program or the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer. The CAP expects these to be released later this year.
- To avoid duplication in your reports, several grossing data elements have been removed from the Protocols and the eCC.
- To decrease risk of staging errors due to incorrect usage of units of measure, the CAP has implemented the following approach:
- UOM will remain standardized to the AJCC 8th Edition Cancer Staging Manual
- The unit of measure will display with both the abbreviated and full unit of measure (example, "in Centimeters (cm)")
- The CAP has been working on consistency of the templates across the checklists. The 53 checklists will have more standardized order of headers, questions and lymph node modeling.
- Lymph node ordering has been changed, note that the number of lymph nodes involved will appear before number of lymph nodes examined.
A Few Important Points about CAP Protocols and eCCs:
- There are differences between the cancer protocols posted on the CAP website and the electronic cancer checklists. Both are CAP approved, but only the eCC is approved for electronic distribution. There is no correlation between differences in content and compliance.
- CAP does not always release the cancer protocols and electronic cancer checklists at the same time.
- Pathologists are expected to use the new protocols and eCCs beginning January 1, 2018.
- As an authorized provider of CAP eCC content, Voicebrook takes away the hassle of updating checklists manually. We update your SRE module within weeks of the eCC release. We ensure your checklists are current, and we offer the flexibility to modify checklists to meet your individual site's reporting needs.
- CAP allows an 8 month grace period for accredited laboratories adopt any new standards. We recognize the importance of immediate implementation; as soon as CAP releases the eCC data, it becomes our top priority. It is also important, however, that the updates to your SRE module go smoothly and meet your reporting needs, so we perform an extensive QA of the data prior to our release date.
If you already have SRE, your project manager will get in touch within the next two weeks to schedule the download of the new content.
If you don't have SRE and are interested in how it could simplify your CAP eCC reporting, let us know!