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How to Extend a CAP Checklist for Increased Research Capabilities

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CAP checklistSynoptic reporting offers benefits that reach beyond simple accuracy and compliance with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) checklist.

CAP checklistSynoptic reporting offers benefits that reach beyond simple accuracy and compliance with the College of American Pathologists (CAP) checklist. The synoptic format’s structured data also provides a simple way to analyze individual diagnostic and prognostic elements for a variety of research and administrative purposes. If your software allows, you can extend a CAP checklist in synoptic template to include parameters that aid individual and shared clinical research.

Extending CAP Checklists to Facilitate Research

Pathology is a critical component of collaborative oncology stage data collection, particularly in regards to lung cancer. With software that allows you to extend synoptic reporting templates according to your clinical research needs, you can easily add extra fields that facilitate current and future outcome studies.

The following screenshot shows how parameters may be added to the CAP checklist for non–small cell carcinoma of the lung to evaluate correlations between tumor size and basic patient characteristics.

cap checklist

The parameters added to the synoptic checklist in the example include:

  • Gender: Radial buttons allow you to indicate if a patient is male or female.
  • Birth date: Date picker allows dates to be accurately selected from a multi-year calendar.
  • Age at diagnosis: Derived from the birth date by a simple formula placed into the extended template
  • Body mass index (BMI): In this instance, the system asks the pathologist if they have sufficient data to calculate a patient’s BMI. If the pathologist selects the “No” radial button, they simply move on to the next question. If they have the information—in either metric or imperial—the values for height and weight become available for entry. 
  • BMI status: The template is extended with a formula for calculating the BMI raw value and status score based on the height and weight entered. The status indicates if the BMI falls into the normal, underweight, overweight or obese ranges, and provides the numerical values for each range.

In this example, the additional research values are organized into a separate heading—”Research Criteria”—to distinguish them from the content of the base CAP template. 

Synoptic reporting and the CAP checklist support not only excellent reporting quality, but also outcome research to improve clinical decision making. In a future post, we will discuss how you can further analyze synoptic report data.

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