BELLEVILLE– The Commission on Cancer, a quality program of the American College of Surgeons, has granted three-year accreditation to the cancer program at HSHS St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care.
Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, St. Elizabeth’s takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.
“We are always looking to implement effective and high-quality programs at St. Elizabeth’s and this accreditation, from a noted national organization, speaks to the work our Cancer Committee has done in support of our patients,” notes Peg Sebastian, president and chief executive officer at the hospital. “Our programs assist patients from cancer diagnosis through treatment and rehabilitation, all close to home so patients can be near their family support system.
Some of the new programs and technologies St. Elizabeth’s recently added include installation of Electromagnetic Navigation Bronchoscopy with the use of superDimension technology to offer a minimally invasive procedure to diagnose, state and prepare to treat lung lesions. The hospital also added an Oncology Wellness Program through Physical Therapy services and a Nurse Navigator to assist patients through all steps on their cancer treatment and recovery.
The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for St. Elizabeth’s to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
Medical Director of Oncology and Cancer Physician Liaison for St. Elizabeth’s Cancer Committee Dr. Mark Walshauser, a medical oncologist and hematologist, says, “This recognition is important because it notes our commitment to providing patients with access to a comprehensive patient-focused program with the highest-quality in research, education and prevention.”
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society. This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.