The National Cancer Institute funded the original implementation and continues to fund the development of SEER*DMS. To ensure that the system provides the right functionalities for both broader NCI program initiatives and the registry communities a Change Control Advisory Board (CCAB) was formed with members from cancer registries, Information Management Services (IMS) and NCI. Members of the CCAB work together to enhance SEER*DMS functionality and define new features.

As the users of SEER*DMS, cancer registries play a critical role in the CCAB and bring unique knowledge and ideas to SEER*DMS. Registries are encouraged to identify topics for CCAB meetings and to share challenges and knowledge with other registries. Registry input is also collected via CCAB sub-groups (workgroups) and via NCI initiatives in which the registries participate. As NCI continues to support the development and enhancement of SEER*DMS, all these efforts help provide critical input to drive system changes. In the past several years CCAB has helped to define and drive changes to SEER*DMS functionality, including the development of new features and changes to algorithms, database structure, and hardware infrastructure.

On a semi-monthly basis, a CCAB meeting is conducted via web conference. Participants include representatives from registries currently using SEER*DMS, registries that are either in transition or are considering a transition to SEER*DMS, members of the SEER*DMS development team, and NCI representatives. The CCAB considers proposals submitted by registry, the development team, or NCI staff. The SEER*DMS development team works with registry and NCI staff to prioritize and schedule discussions for the proposals. Each month's agenda is reviewed by NCI staff and distributed to the full CCAB before the meeting. Minutes are posted to the SEER*DMS documentation portal after each meeting.

Typically, a registry submits a change request via the SEER*DMS issue tracking system. A detailed proposal based on the request is created by the SEER*DMS development team in collaboration with the requesting registry and NCI.

The review process for each proposal involves:

  • a presentation of the proposal including purpose, requirements, and technical considerations
  • each CCAB registry
    • suggests modifications to the proposal
    • determines whether or not the change is appropriate for their registry
    • defines the registry settings for elements that are configurable

Once the proposal is submitted, the SEER*DMS development team will forward the request to NCI who will review the requested changes and consult with the SEER*DMS development team on technical guidance, level of effort, timelines, and risk assessment.

Registry change proposals related to minor changes and bug fixes are often handled without review in a CCAB meeting. All issues submitted to the issue tracking system are evaluated by the SEER*DMS development team and reviewed with NCI. CCAB members are asked via email to review issues related to bugs and requests for minor changes. Each registry is asked to acknowledge that they read the issue and to submit comments related to requested changes.