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Electronic Pathology Laboratory (ePath) Reporting

Central Cancer Registry

Cancer registries often rely on pathology laboratories to report certain findings to registry officials. In the past, these reports were handwritten or printed in a format unique to each laboratory and mailed to the NC CCR. NPCR-AERRO initiated the electronic pathology laboratory (ePath) reporting project to facilitate electronic reporting of anatomic pathology reports from national and regional laboratories to the state cancer registries. NC CCR implemented ePath reporting in June 2008. Effective October 1, 2014, legislation mandates electronic reporting to the NC CCR and paper reports are no longer accepted.

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to develop standardized electronic pathology laboratory reporting. The ePath Project allows the cancer registry to electronically process, filter, auto-encode, and auto-populate cancer data into abstract form. Through this project, the CCR will be able to increase the spectrum of data elements for North Carolina cancer surveillance in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Benefits for the NC CCR

  • Faster – Compared to the mailing of paper reports, electronic reports can be transmitted in a near real-time basis.
  • Automation – Processes can be developed to filter non-cancer cases and assign codes to identify elements within the report.
  • Consistency - Promotes uniform data identification criteria.
  • Efficiency – Improves the efficiency of data collection, case finding and follow back to the ordering facility on diagnoses.
  • HIPAA Compliance – The ePath system has been certified for HIPAA compliance.
  • Cost Effectiveness - Studies show that automated pathology case finding may improve timeliness, completeness, and cost effectiveness of cancer reporting.

ePath reporting is the most efficient method for ascertaining cases from pathology laboratories, where the laboratories have the capability to report and the registries have the capability to receive electronic data streams. Reportable diagnoses made in the pathology laboratories can be transmitted to the CCR in a near real-time basis, and incident cases can be made immediately available for analysis.

Benefits for the Laboratory

  • Reduces staff time involved in identifying, copying, and mailing paper pathology reports.
  • Eliminates the costs associated with submitting paper pathology reports to registries.
  • Eliminates the need for registry personnel to use the laboratory’s workspace and computer to perform casefinding.
  • Automates reporting with minimal human supervision.
  • Inherently improves HIPAA compliance.
    • Provides a more secure and confidential reporting than traditional manual methods.
    • Reduces the risk of disclosure of patient identifiers.
    • Restricts viewing of non-cancer reports because the computer eliminates those that are not relevant for cancer.
    • Maintains a complete electronic audit log of reports submitted to the registry.

Reporting Guidelines and Resources

Supported Transmission Methods

The NC CCR supports the following data transmission methods for ePath reporting:

SFTP – SSH File Transfer Protocol for uploading pathology laboratory electronic reports. Access request forms and other instructions are provided to the lab to create logins on the SFTP forms via email.

PHINMS – Public Health Information Network Messaging System is a CDC developed software to facilitate secure data transmission. More information will be provided upon completing on-boarding process. Click here External link for more information from CDC on PHINMS.

Contact Information

ePath Coordinator
Sumana Nagaraj
Phone: 984-236-7427