Misclassification Issues in Oklahoma


One area of concern within the state of Oklahoma is in the number of patients that have been misclassified on their health records, birth certificates, and death certificates.   Many times, when a patient has expired, the funeral home director, doctor, nurse or EMS driver codes the patient’s death certificate; unaware of how important coding the correct race for each individual is. This also happens in admitting departments and nursing homes. These errors have caused an inaccurate account of incidence and mortality rates in racial categories on previous statistical data.
Miscoding in racial categories was identified to be nearly 50% on death certificates after data exchange with Tribal registries, linkage with the state death certificate database, and linkage with the Indian Health Services database, according to Dr. Janis Campbell, Surveillance Coordinator and Principal Investigator for the State of Oklahoma. She noted that this skews the numbers and it happens on a daily basis, which impacts incidence rates, mortality rates, and funding for services.
Once the error was corrected in the state database on all deceased cases, there was a 48.1% increase in the number of American Indians that had been diagnosed with cancer from 1997 forward. This increase caused the number in other races to decrease, giving a more accurate picture of the cancer burden in Oklahoma.

Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan

The Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control (CNCCC) Project assists in the development of networks and collaboration that produce an infrastructure for a comprehensive approach to cancer within the Cherokee Nation. Since 2003, coalition members and partners have come together to discuss the burden of cancer in Cherokee Nation. Coalition members and partners include local, regional, state and national representatives committed to identifying areas of cancer concern, planning interventions, prioritizing greatest areas of identified need, and then implementing identified strategies and/or providing needed resources. This is the second edition of the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan and will serve, like the first, as an information resource for health care professionals and community members, as well as a tool for the Cherokee Nation Comprehensive Cancer Control Coalition and its respective entities. The coalition is committed to the process of enhancing infrastructure for comprehensive cancer control in the Cherokee Nation with the ultimate goal of reducing morbidity and mortality among the Cherokee community.