The Cancer Institute New South Wales in Australia will deploy a web-based data management application to facilitate the dissemination of information to internal staff and external stakeholders.

Established in 2003, the Cancer Institute NSW is the first state wide, government supported cancer control agency and has five program areas across cancer prevention, screening, services and education, research, and cancer information and registries.

The institute’s existing data is available through a web-based statistics module, published reports and peer reviewed articles, and via ad hoc data requests; however, the statistics module is limited to the top 20 cancers, and only provides predetermined, disaggregated data.

Furthermore, ad hoc requests take time before data can be provided due to the volume of requests received by the institute, and consume the biostatisticians' time. Similarly, data in published reports and papers may not be timely, or may not contain exactly what is required by researchers.

The institute concluded a web-based data deployment tool will become a repository for data relevant to cancer services planning and performance review, campaign evaluation, monitoring, and evaluation and research.

Since its inception the Cancer Institute NSW has taken on or developed a number of cancer registries, including the NSW Central Cancer Registry, the Clinical Cancer Registry, and screening registries like the Pap Test Register and BreastScreen register.

Other data sets like the Admitted Patient Data Collection – managed by NSW Health – may also be included in the new web deployment tool.

“It is envisaged that these collections will be the minimum included in the web tool,” according to the institute.

“The tool will be an interactive data cube accessible via the Cancer Institute NSW website, which will provide the capacity to deploy multiple databases, provide graph and mapping capability, and allow users to manipulate data according to their needs.”

The institute is confident the new environment will provide adequate security for the information.

The project is in line with the overarching aims of the NSW Cancer Plan 2007-2010 to make information more standardised, relevant, and accessible.

It is anticipated the new applications will provide detailed information to describe the patient population and contribute to service planning, enhance the ability to measure progress against standards and practice guidelines, provide information that can be easily and correctly interpreted via simple graphical displays, and provide data in a more timely fashion to minimise the need for ad hoc requests.