Tunnell Cancer Center recognized for quality patient care

February 2, 2013

Beebe Medical Center’s Tunnell Cancer Center has been recognized by the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program, an affiliate of the American Society of Clinical Oncology. The QOPI Certification Program certifies oncology practices that meet the highest-quality standards for cancer care.

“Cancer patients and their families should expect nothing less than accountability and the highest standards from their cancer care providers,” said Allen S. Lichter, MD, CEO of ASCO and president of the QOPI Certification Program. “QOPI participation reflects a commitment to quality of care that leads to fundamental changes in the clinical practice of oncology.

"Oncology practices that commit to quality and safety are those that provide the most optimal cancer care. The certification program helps practices determine whether they are providing the best treatment and care possible to their patients, and demonstrates a commitment to excellence and ongoing quality improvement in the hematology-oncology outpatient practice.

“As oncologists, our goal is to provide the highest levels of care and life quality for our patients. ASCO’s quality programs are designed by leaders in the profession and give practices the ability to continuously improve the quality of care they provide. This culture of excellence will be especially important as we enter the era of personalized medicine.”

“We are extremely proud to have received this quality recognition,” says Cherrie Rich, RN, executive director of Oncology Services at Beebe Medical Center. “It reflects the commitment to quality and patient safety of our entire team including the oncologists, pharmacists, nurses, navigators, therapist- and support staff at Tunnell Cancer Center.

"These individuals work together with the goal of providing each patient with high quality, personalized care and attention based on best practices, with a focus on the whole patient and survivorship planning from the very beginning of treatment.”

The medical directors of the Beebe Medical Center oncology program are: Brian Costleigh, MD, medical director of Radiation Oncology; Srihari Peri, MD, medical director of Medical Oncology; and James E. Spellman Jr., MD, medical director of Surgical Oncology.

QOPI is a voluntary self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients.

The QOPI Certification Program was launched in January 2010.The first 16 practices were certified just six months later, and the program reached a milestone of more than 100 certified practices in just under two years. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by demonstrating practice consistent with the highest standards of care.

QOPI analyzes individual practice data and compares these to more than 100 evidence-based and consensus quality measures. The information is then provided in reports to participating practices. Individual practices are also able to compare their performance to data from other practices across the country.

To become certified, practices have to submit to an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. The QCP staff and steering group members then verify that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practices met core standards in all areas of treatment, including treatment planning; staff training and education; chemotherapy orders and drug preparation; patient consent and education; safe chemotherapy administration; and monitoring and assessment of patient well-being.

The QOPI Certification Program provides a three-year certification for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet standards for quality cancer care.

Tunnell Cancer Center was established in 1995. It has received the Commission on Cancer's highest accreditation with commendation as a comprehensive community cancer center. Its clinical specialties are medical oncology/hematology and radiation oncology. It also offers a multidisciplinary approach for planning all cancer treatment. Nearly 300 patients visit the center each day.

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