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J Registry Manag. 2011 Autumn;38(3):162-5.

Using a statistical process control chart during the quality assessment of cancer registry data.

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  • 1National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Statistical process control (SPC) charts may be used to detect acute variations in the data while simultaneously evaluating unforeseen aberrations that may warrant further investigation by the data user. Using cancer stage data captured by the Summary Stage 2000 (SS2000) variable, we sought to present a brief report highlighting the utility of the SPC chart during the quality assessment of cancer registry data. Using a county-level caseload for the diagnosis period of 2001-2004 (n=25,648), we found the overall variation of the SS2000 variable to be in control during diagnosis years of 2001 and 2002, exceeded the lower control limit (LCL) in 2003, and exceeded the upper control limit (UCL) in 2004; in situ/localized stages were in control throughout the diagnosis period, regional stage exceeded UCL in 2004, and distant stage exceeded the LCL in 2001 and the UCL in 2004. Our application of the SPC chart with cancer registry data illustrates that the SPC chart may serve as a readily available and timely tool for identifying areas of concern during the data collection and quality assessment of central cancer registry data.

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