publication date: Jun. 7, 2019

ASCO’s mCODE seeks to compose lingua franca for cancer informatics

By Matthew Bin Han Ong & Paul Goldberg

The American Society of Clinical Oncology published a set of common standards for cancer data elements via an initiative dubbed mCODE.

ASCO’s mCODE, short for Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements, is the latest set of standards designed to grow into the lingua franca for oncology—by providing a common language, ASCO is betting that adoption of mCODE would enable electronic health record systems to interoperate seamlessly and generate essential patient outcomes data.

If mCODE succeeds and is adopted by major EHR vendors, including the industry giants Epic and Cerner, this set of data elements would be streamlined across broad swaths of oncology. Moreover, reliance on these common elements would enable researchers to study drug efficacy, using routine clinical data to generate research and regulatory-grade conclusions in real time.

But of all the data standards proposed throughout the history of oncology bioinformatics, why should mCODE be the right one?

“There are several reasons why we think that mCODE will thrive,” ASCO’s past president Monica Bertagnolli said to The Cancer Letter. “First, it is a user-driven data structure, and its first version was created by a diverse team of researchers and clinicians who wanted to use the results to drive progress.

“Second, it is iterative. The first version, mCODE v0.9, includes 73 data elements that should be reported for every cancer patient. It is pretty straightforward to see how having these elements in a standard format can be mapped fairly easily, and that doing so will make a big difference in data usability across different institutions,” said Bertagnolli, who leads the Alliance for Clinical Trials … Continue reading ASCO’s mCODE seeks to compose lingua franca for cancer informatics

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