Though most registries are computerized, information is provided here, for a manual follow-up system. Older registries may use a manual system until existing cases are computerized. This information can help other disease registries or new cancer registries to begin follow-up procedures until software is in place.
Manual registries need a method to indicate which patients are due for follow-up. The most common method is the dual tickler file. A follow up, or "tickler," card is satisfactory. This card contains patient identifiers, primary cancer information, contacts, and date of last contact. Only one card should be prepared for a patient, regardless of the number of primary cancers. All cancers or reportable diseases should be listed on the patient's follow-up card.
A dual tickler file contains two sets of monthly guides. One set is for the current year, the other for the following year. A follow-up card is filed alphabetically in the same month last seen but in the following year. For example, if a patient was last seen on December 22, 2001, the follow-up card would be filed alphabetically in the December 2002 section, or the second set of months.
The dual tickler file is for tracking living patients that are due for follow up. At the beginning of each month, the follow-up cards should be pulled from the current month to prepare and mail letters for patients who are due for follow-up. As follow-up is received, the information should be processed as described. The date of last contact should be recorded on both the abstract and the patient identification cards. When follow-up information is obtained regarding a patient, the abstract is retrieved to add the date of last contact. The follow-up card is removed from its current position, the date of last contact is updated, and the card is filed appropriately in the month due for follow-up the next year.
A section of the tickler file should be designated for those cases that are not delinquent but still need follow-up. At the end of each month, the remaining cards should be removed and filed in this section. The monthly divider card should be placed in the back of the ticker file for cases to be followed during the next year.
Regular attempts should be made to obtain follow-up information. At the end of fifteen months, or when the case is considered delinquent (lost to follow-up), the card should be filed alphabetically in a delinquent section. This delinquent section should be reviewed routinely and continued attempts should be made to obtain follow-up until current information is obtained.