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December 1, 2005

MCCR: a successful public project

UK cancer registry Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Registry has been working on a project to automate the collection of data, helping track the incidence of cancer in individuals right from disease onset. The project is a good example of what can be done today within the NHS and should hopefully go on to deliver further benefits as it expands.

By CBR Staff Writer

Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Registry has been working on an automated data management project.

Each regional cancer registry has to pick up details of newly diagnosed cancer cases, and this can be a lengthy process, which until recently involved a significant amount of clerical activity, with staff visiting hospitals to examine records and collect information. Collated data then finds its way to the UK’s Office of National Statistics, where it can be used to identify trends, and potentially to then monitor the effectiveness of treatments – vital in subsequently making the right treatments available to the right people (an issue that has been in the press a lot recently).

The project has involved workflow management and the use of business rules to automate much of the data management. The chosen technology was InterSystems Ensemble integration platform, which combines the functionality of integration and application servers, together with a database and development environment.

The decision to implement Ensemble was driven by the need to integrate more effectively with the Connecting for Health part of the NHS National Programme for IT (NPfIT), and is a good example of what can be done today within the NHS, making better use of technologies that are already available.

One of the key points was to allow data to remain confidential, while retaining all the relevant clinical data (in line with the provisions of the Health Care Act). The solution has allowed the Merseyside and Cheshire Cancer Registry (MCCR) to operationalize a privacy process, yet allow the data to be used by other registries. It essentially provides a microcosm of a patient record.

The objective is that this project can then provide much more data, and become a launch pad for a range of services such as screening, prevention, and clinical practice. It is good to see an example of a successful project, which may go on to deliver further benefits as it expands.

Source: OpinionWire by Butler Group (

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