Consultant Spotlight: Michelle Kern, CTR – Project Manager


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Michelle Kern, CTR is a Project Manager for the Registry Partners Oncology Division.  

Prior to joining Registry Partners, Michelle served as the Oncology Program Manager for Regional Medical Center of San Jose, CA.  She has also held positions as Cancer Registrar for Mills-Peninsula Health Services in San Mateo, CA; Remote Cancer Registrar for Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, CA; Remote Oncology Data Consultant for Precyse Solutions and Oncology Data Coordinator for St. Mary’s Medical Center in San Francisco, CA.    

She attended San Francisco State University and Skyline College where she studied Emergency Medical Technology and is a Certified Tumor Registrar (CTR). Michelle belongs to the National Cancer Registrars Association (NCRA) and the California Cancer Registrars Association (CCRA).  

Michelle resides in California with her husband and daughter. In her spare time she enjoys dancing, swimming, reading, walking and finding new adventures with her family.  

Q & A with Michelle:

Q: What tips can you provide that may help a CTR improve their abstraction skills and become a more efficient abstractor?

A: Organization, Patience and Practice. From determining patient eligibility to translating language from a medical record into the various standardized codes, the large amount of knowledge required may seem overwhelming. My best advice is to NOT try to memorize everything all at once. I am still a paper manual person so I used flags to bookmark the various important, or highly used references, when I abstracted so that I could quickly find the answers I needed the next time around. As time goes on the information just becomes a part of you and the need to go back to the reference materials becomes less and less.

Q: What advice would you give to other individuals considering a cancer registry career and pursuing their CTR?

A: Go for it! It is such a rewarding career. Cancer registrars may not physically touch a patient like a doctor or nurse may however, understanding the full scope of the disease and to be able to properly abstract and record this information for analysis and data outcomes … you ARE participating in the treatment of those diagnosed with cancer by guiding practitioners to use the best treatment protocols and screenings exams that will improve a patient’s survival.

Q: How do you describe your career to friends and family?

A: I often say that I review patients medical records and input all pertinent information regarding their cancer diagnosis into a database which, then allows for analysis to help understand the cancer diagnosis better and why certain types of cancers happen to certain age and ethnic groups. I explain that having this information means physicians can better treat people currently diagnosed with cancer or better yet,  we can learn how to prevent a person from being diagnosed with cancer in the first place.