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Published on March 14, 2019

Even more reason to trust your local cancer care teamEven more reason to trust your local cancer care team

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, getting the best possible care is a priority. But how do you know if a treatment center is top-notch?

The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) created the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) certification program to recognize medical oncology practices that are committed to delivering the highest quality cancer care.

The good news for Cape and Islands residents is that Cape Cod Healthcare’s Medical Oncology Department recently achieved this certification.

“This is a stamp of approval from a quality perspective from the American Society of Clinical Oncology,” said Katie Michaud, executive director of cancer services for Cape Cod Healthcare. “Knowing that the Medical Oncology Department has this certification, a patient can trust that we, as an organization, are providing the highest level of quality and safety.”

ASCO is the “premier go-to for ongoing continuing education for our oncologists,” she said.

“ASCO is a great authority, in terms of being on top of all of the latest research and all of the latest evidence-based practice that would support safe and quality oncologic care in communities like the Cape.”

Data Measures

To achieve QOPI certification, the department had to collect data on more than 100 quality measures. Areas of evaluation included:

• Qualifications of the cancer care staff

• Chart documentation

• Chemotherapy preparation and administration

• Patient monitoring and assessment

• Preparedness for emergency situations

QOPI certification required meeting or exceeding benchmark scores on measures that compared the quality of the department’s care against national standards. An on-site review and peer review by a select team of oncology professionals, including physicians and nurses, also were part of the process.

The department’s Quality Team meets monthly, according to Jennifer Crook, MD, medical director of Cape Cod Healthcare Cancer Services. The team consists of medical, nursing, administrative and pharmacy representatives, she said.

“This team was critical in achieving this certification, and will be fundamental in assuring that we maintain these quality standards, and the certification, moving forward,” said Dr. Crook.

Participating in the certification process means that the oncology department has chosen to raise the bar for their medical oncology practice, added Michaud.

“We’re holding our policies and procedures up against what is considered best practice for safe, quality care. We are proud to be able to say that we can compare ourselves to others around the country who have achieved this highest level of certification.”