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Using Existing Data Sources

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Guide Content | Chapter 1: Understanding and Engaging Communities

Program Spotlight: Bidirectional Reporting of Michigan Cancer Registry Data: A Pilot Project

Michigan Department of Community Health


The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) mission is to protect, preserve, and promote the health and safety of the people of Michigan with particular attention to providing for the needs of vulnerable and under-served populations. Aligning with this mission and the overall needs of people in Michigan, MDCH’s cancer genomics program focuses on reducing the number of early cancer deaths in Michigan residents by increasing appropriate use of cancer genetic services and tests. Activities within this program include surveillance, education, and health plan policy projects. In 2008, MDCH was awarded a three-year cooperative agreement to apply cancer genomics best practices.  In 2011, MDCH was awarded another three-year cooperative agreement focused on breast cancer genomics best practices.

Furthermore, the 2009-2015 Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan for Michigan includes a cancer genomics goal to increase availability of cancer-related genetic information for the Michigan public and decrease barriers to risk-appropriate services. MDCH strives to make information on cancer genetics available to the public, providers, and payers so that individuals are aware of their risk of hereditary cancers and are able to access appropriate services. Since 2009, MDCH has been providing education and disseminating evidence-based guidelines for screening and management of hereditary cancers.

Bi-directional data reporting

In 2009, MDCH worked to develop a bi-directional data reporting system that utilized existing statewide cancer data with dissemination of evidence-based guidelines for hereditary cancer and educational tools to increase access to genetic services.   MDCH identified over 15,000 cancers diagnosed in 2006-2007 that were appropriate for cancer genetic referral (i.e. breast cancer diagnosed at a young age; males with breast cancer; ovarian cancer; colorectal cancer; endometrial cancer diagnosed at a young age; multiple primary cancers).  Reports with educational materials were created for each reporting cancer facility that highlighted the cases appropriate for cancer genetic referral diagnosed by their health system.  The educational materials helped to inform the administrators of these health systems of patients appropriate for cancer genetic referral, available services and prevention steps. The facility-specific reports enabled providers to identify and follow-up with those at risk so that they could refer them on to genetic services or more appropriate care.

Sharing Lessons Learned

How is your strategy for public health in Michigan both unique and effective?

Cancer prevention and control in a state requires working together. We work closely with partners across the state including clinicians, researchers, payers, and patient advocate groups within the Michigan Cancer Genetics Alliance and the Michigan Cancer Consortium. By state law, the state health department receives information on cancer diagnoses from facilities within the state. We were able to think of ways we could utilize partnerships and existing data to make a greater impact on lives. We are able to serve more effectively as a state agency by using surveillance data to inform outreach efforts and target education materials to fit the needs of providers and individuals at risk. 

Do you have another question about this program? Click here to ask a question.

Back to Chapter 1: Understanding and Engaging Communities | Previous Strategy | Go to Chapter 2: Improving Quality and Accessibility

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