Why some cancer programs open themselves up to assessment



The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer awarded a three-year accreditation to the Upstate Cancer Center this year.

Patients and their loved ones may not realize why health care providers make an effort to earn various accreditations, or endorsements from outside organizations. They may notice an emblem on a Web page or a trophy in a case without understanding its meaning.

About 24 different agencies regularly review patient care services at Upstate University Hospital. For example, the American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer awarded the Upstate Cancer Center with a three-year accreditation in June. This is the fourth consecutive time Upstate’s cancer services have earned that accreditation. Each time the commission sent one of its physicians to conduct a review at Upstate, the physician gave multiple commendations and never once found a deficiency.

Anthony Weiss, MD

Anthony Weiss, MD

That is something of which to be proud, says Anthony Weiss, MD, chief medical officer for Upstate University Hospital. “This represents over a decade of outstanding work and collaboration by the Upstate cancer team and is a testament to the hard-working individuals who serve our patients each day.”

The visiting physician evaluates compliance with 34 standards in areas including nursing care, clinical trial access, public reports and data submission and accuracy. Hospital administrators monitor clinical practices but appreciate input from a knowledgeable outsider — a third party who gives a neutral assessment in a review that, hopefully, leads to accreditation.

What does that accreditation mean for cancer patients?

“It means that the hospital is more informed about cancer and its treatment, as well as appropriate resources. It can offer more consistent and better quality care to its patients,” American Cancer Society Vice President Katherine Sharpe explains on the society website. “Getting treatment at an accredited facility can strengthen your confidence in the quality and safety of your care, treatment and services. This can lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life for patients.”

More than 1,500 cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico have accreditation from the Commission on Cancer, and the commission estimates those programs treat nearly 70 percent of patients who are newly diagnosed each year. Upstate is the only accredited cancer program in the Syracuse area.

cancercarefall15This article appears in the fall 2015 issue of Cancer Care magazine.



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