Using claims data to identify nonmelanoma skin cancer may be unreliable, researchers report in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.

According to the new study, an electronic pathology report (EPR) more accurately identifies nonmelanoma skin cancer cases. EPR shows the biopsy of a skin specimen result.

Specifically, EPR was 30% to 46% better at identifying a patient with actual nonmelanoma skin cancer compared to claims data methods, the new stidy showed.  EPR missed identifying less than 1% of actual skin cancer cases, and was able to specify basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma.

“Claims data may incorrectly estimate actual disease burden, with up to half of cases found to be false.” says Melody Eide, MD, a dermatologist at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, in press release. “We suggest that formal surveillance efforts at the state and national level should be considered and re-addressed, and the use of an electronic pathology report may be a potential alternative for more effectively tracking these cases.”

Source: Journal of Investigative Dermatology