The functioning of the Brazilian National Institute of Cancer (INCA) and execution of the National Cancer Control Program coordinated by the Institute require a powerful technological apparatus. To this end, the Cancer Foundation has developed projects involving systems that consolidate the existing data on cancer and also tools to improve assistance, providing greater swiftness in handling patient needs.
Among the main investments made were purchase of the software program Business Intelligence (BI) and acquisition of the ownership rights to a hospital administration system. At present, in order to contribute to the enhanced performance of more than a hundred systems, a team of around 30 analysts, maintained by the Foundation, performs services for INCA.
The information-processing area gained impulse as from 1997 when the Foundation bolstered the professionalization of its human resources, contracting managers who act in key areas of the institution. In the field of Information-processing technology, the target was to implement tools to provide support for INCA’s major pillars: assistance, research, instruction and prevention.
The first big project began that year 18 years ago, in order to integrate the assistance area. One system brought together everything from scheduling to the handling of inquiries and exams, electronic prompt-books to hospitalizations, all the way through the medicines consumed by each patient, centralizing the control over the entire hospital movement. At the turn of the millennium, a managerial software program (ERP) was acquired and integrated with the hospital system, making it possible to control storeroom inventories, fixed assets and the flow of purchases, as well as make reports available on accounting and purchasing between other facilities.
Another major advance was the development of the systems relating to bone marrow transplants in Brazil, with full automation of the National Register of Bone Marrow Donors (Redome) and the National Register of Bone Marrow Recipients (Rereme).
Yet another enhancement in the assistance area was the digitalization of all computer tomography, magnetic resonance and X-ray images. This initiative made it possible for doctors to have access to exams at any INCA unit, or even in their own homes, thus boosting speed and savings.
In the area of epidemiologic vigilance in partnership with the SUS Information-Processing Department (Datasus), the Cancer Foundation developed the Siscolo (2001) and Sismama (2006), in order to record the occurrences and track the evolution of colon-uterine and breast cancer, respectively. Besides these systems, the Foundation aided creation of the Cancer Hospital Register and the Population Base Cancer Register.
When it comes to research, highlights of the Cancer Foundation’s work include creation of a management program for the National Tumor Bank (BNT), an important study tool that brings together data related to tumor samples collected from patients. In 2007, this application was ranked as the finest in the entire world in its category at the annual meeting held by the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).
In the area of palliative care, a software program developed by the Cancer Foundation allows home-care teams for patients beyond therapeutic possibilities to have direct online access to the INCA system by means of their smartphone. Doctors and nurses cannot only check the patient’s record, but they can also update data in real time. In 2009 the application was ranked the best in the health-care area by the Brazilian Association of Information Technology Companies (ASSERPRO).