Every pathology laboratory in the Netherlands sends excerpts to PALGA's database on a daily basis. Excerpts are summaries of the original pathology reports. They include diagnosis coding lines and the pathologist’s conclusion. For a complete summary of the excerpt’s sections, click here.
The personal data is pseudonymized by a Trusted Third Party (ZorgTTP). For example, one pseudonym is based on the first four letters of the individual's birth name, their date of birth and their gender. Another is based on the first eight characters of the birth name, birth date and gender. There is also a pseudonym based on the Citizen Service Number. Thus, individual patients are not identifiable.
PALGA’s database offers unprecedented potential for carrying out scientific research. By mid-2015, the database contained over 65 million excerpts concerning over 12 million people. It is currently growing at a rate of 2.5 million excerpts per year.
Pathology laboratories are increasingly using synoptic reporting (protocols) based on national guidelines. The Professionals/Protocols page of this website features regularly updated information on the available protocols. By the end of 2016, protocols will be available for all tumours for which national guidelines have been drawn up.
Diagnosis coding lines
The pathologist adds one or more diagnosis coding lines – consisting of a combination of diagnostic terms (localization, acquisition technique, abnormality) – from the PALGA Thesaurus to each report. These diagnostic terms are automatically furnished with one or more classification codes from a hierarchical coding system. These codes were originally related to the Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine (SNOMED), 1982 version, published by the College of American Pathologists.