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Improving Cancer Care Through Better Electronic Health Records


The Biden Cancer Moonshot aims to support and center patients and caregivers, and President Biden has made it clear that the American people deserve a health care system that they can rely on. That includes a system of electronic health records that gives patients and doctors the information they need to provide excellent patient care and improve outcomes. As President Biden has emphasized, having access to the right medical information at the right time is essential when every minute counts.

But electronic health record systems can vary between different doctors, clinics, and labs, and information like test results and disease status often is not accessible across systems. This makes it harder for doctors to make critical treatment and care decisions.

That’s why the Biden-Harris Administration has kick-started the adoption of United States Core Data for Interoperability Plus Cancer (USCDI+ Cancer), a recommended minimum set of key cancer-related data elements to be included in a person’s electronic health record. This effort will allow health care providers to share health information seamlessly, advance equity in treatment, and improve care and outcomes for people facing cancer across the country, especially in rural and underserved areas. Standardizing data across electronic health records also opens new possibilities for faster research results and more effective public health interventions.

This important step forward for USCDI+ Cancer builds on another Biden Cancer Moonshot initiative, the Enhancing Oncology Model (EOM). The EOM is a new cancer care model developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to lower costs, bring effective patient-centered care, and improve outcomes for those facing a cancer diagnosis.

In coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and CMS, the Biden Cancer Moonshot worked with electronic health record developers who have voluntarily committed to adopt and accelerate a set of cancer data elements needed for the EOM. These data elements cover vital information about a person’s treatment history, test results, and disease status.

Because these EOM data elements also form the core of USCDI+ Cancer, this “data sprint” will drive widespread inclusion in electronic health records of information that is critical to effective treatment.

Dr. Danielle Carnival, Deputy Assistant to the President for the Cancer Moonshot, noted: “These commitments are not to us, but to the people who rely on these electronic health record systems, including providers and patients. We commend this voluntary action from leaders in the electronic health record developer community, as it will help clinicians provide better treatment for people living with cancer.”

Commitments to adopt the core EOM data elements and to support USCDI+ Cancer were made by Epic; Oracle; Ontada, a McKesson business; Meditech; Flatiron; and ThymeCare. CVS Health and Athenahealth are working to promote these steps in their work as well.


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