HL7 FHIR Implementation Guide: minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE), v0.9.1

HL7 FHIR Implementation Guide: minimal Common Oncology Data Elements (mCODE), v0.9.1 - Local Development build (v0.9.1). See the Directory of published versions

Contents of this Implementation Guide



According to the National Cancer Institute, 38.5 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. In 2014, an estimated 14.7M people were living with cancer in the United States. While these numbers are staggering, the silver lining in the wide prevalence of cancer is the potential to learn from treatment of millions of patients. If we had research-quality data from all cancer patients, it would enable higher quality health outcomes. Today, we lack the data models, technologies, and methods to capture that data.

mCODE™ (short for Minimal Common Oncology Data Elements) is an initiative intended to assemble a core set of structured data elements for oncology electronic health records (EHRs). mCODE™ is a step towards capturing research-quality data from the treatment of all cancer patients. This would enable the treatment of every cancer patient to contribute to comparative effectiveness analysis (CEA) of cancer treatments. mCODE™ has been created and is being supported by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO®)in collaboration with the MITRE Corporation.

In late 2018, ASCO convened committee of twenty leading clinical experts in oncology, radiology, surgery, and public health developed two use cases which drove the initial clinical data requirements for mCODE.

In early 2019, an open survey was conducted to validate and prioritize the data elements from these use cases. Further down-scoping was done based on whether the data would be stored or capture in an electronic health record (EHR), or if it placed undue documentation burden on the clinician.

The data elements were formally modeled, and rendered as FHIR Profiles. The results are detailed in this Implementation Guide. Clinical readers should focus on the Scope and Conceptual Model. Informaticists and FHIR implementers can reference the profiles and other technical information.



  • mCODE elements listed in this IG might vary from the list identified by ASCO in their recent survey. These elements are subject to change based on review from ASCO, CancerLinQ, and other reviewers from the oncology community.
  • Links to Argonaut IG content are not working due to limitations in the FHIR IG Publisher. The Argonaut Data Query Implementation Guide Version 1.0.0 is located here.



Domain content was provided by the ASCO/CancerLinQ team with additional research from the MITRE Corporation. Help, guidance, and wisdom was generously provided by all members of the ASCO/CancerLinQ team, especially the Dr. Robert Miller and Dr. Wendy Rubenstein.

This IG was authored by the MITRE Corporation using the Clinical Information Modeling and Profiling Language (CIMPL), a free, open source toolchain from MITRE Corporation.


Approved for Public Release. Distribution Unlimited. Case Number 16-1988