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The NCI is about 50 or 60 years old, so this is not a new idea.The NCI itself has said that observational data are important—important for research use. The SEER database does not cover the entire US population but a good chunk of it.That is a very labor-intensive process, but that might also point out some inaccuracies in the electronic data that we are able to get directly.Dr Miller: There has been a hope that big data would get around some of the biases that might come into play in our clinical trial results.What might it allow us to do that we have not been able to do with the SEER database? The SEER database was created by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).Dr Yu: First, I think that the SEER database is the gold standard, or the best source of cancer observational data. It was designed as a research tool to actually ask questions.Dr Miller: We have seen that some studies have used things like the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database.
That is one of the things that is lacking, and one of the things that ASCO is providing is being that trusted steward, trusted by our members, trusted by our doctors to bring the data together.We are asking our members to share their data and their electronic health records.To collect the data, to bring it together, is what ASCO will do. Welcome to Medscape Oncology Insights, coming to you from the 2016 annual meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO). I am Kathy Miller, professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Dr Miller: Many of us who have used them can tell which ones oncologists had a hand in developing, and maybe which ones were done elsewhere. A hand in developing, a hand in the input and language of the field, or domain experts who understand what doctors really need, what patients really need, and, more importantly, how work flows so doctors can work efficiently.