Quality Control Activities

The SEER Program is considered the standard for data quality around the world. Quality control has been an integral part of SEER Program activities since its inception in 1973. Currently, quality control studies of various types, including casefinding, recoding, and reliability, are conducted in even number calendar years. The first two study types are carried out by a group of auditors which includes a qualified staff member from each SEER registry. The auditors travel to registries other than their own in order to collect data. These studies are designed using appropriate statistical procedures that provide for obtaining measures that can be used to assess the performance of a registry. Registries that do well are recognized, and individuals that do well in the reliability studies are recognized as well. In odd numbered calendar years, training programs are conducted at selected SEER registries and in conjunction with the annual meeting of the National Cancer Registrars Association that focus on problem areas identified from the quality control studies as well as any changes being introduced in data collection procedures. Another quality control tool is the Data Quality Profile which is created for each registry. This profile provides an assessment of the extent to which each registry provides data that meet certain standards that pertain to the percent of cases for which a data item is unknown, reporting delay, and the quality of data on vital status. The SEER Program has also developed an extensive set of inter- and intra- field edits that are used to identify and correct errors in the data. See the Information for Cancer Registrars section for more information.

SEER Data Management System

The SEER Data Management System (SEER*DMS) provides support for all core cancer registry functions -- importing data, editing, linkage, consolidation, and reporting. The individual SEER Registries actively participated in the requirements analysis and design of SEER*DMS. It was determined that despite the variety, number, and complexity of the registries’ processes and corresponding functional requirements, a centrally designed data management system could be employed by the various SEER Registries. SEER*DMS improves cost efficiency and reduces duplication of effort in terms of system maintenance and administration. Furthermore, the centralized system design and development improves data quality and consistency, increases efficiency, and increases the sharing of knowledge and experience among registries.