The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and monitoring of comprehensive quality care. The CoC’s multidisciplinary membership is comprised of 100 individuals, including representatives from 48 affiliated national professional organizations. Currently, more than 1,500 cancer programs in the United States and Puerto Rico are accredited by the CoC, which care for 71 percent of cancer patients diagnosed and treated annually. To earn voluntary accreditation, a cancer program must meet or exceed quality standards established by the CoC, be evaluated every three years and maintain high levels of excellence. Visit www.facs.org/cancer for more information.
ACS CoC Impact
CoC-Accredited cancer centers continually improve their quality of patient care by implementing programs that cover the full spectrum of cancer care services, including prevention, early detection, pre-treatment evaluation, staging, optimal treatment and rehabilitation, surveillance for recurrent disease, psychosocial support and end-of-life care. In addition, the CoC regularly monitors the quality of patient care delivered in accredited cancer programs to improve cancer care outcomes at national and local levels.
Improving Cancer Quality: Key Elements of CoC-Accredited Centers
- Clinical services that provide pretreatment evaluation, staging, treatment and clinical follow-up for cancer patients.
- A cancer committee that leads the program through setting goals, monitoring activity and evaluating patient outcomes, and improving care.
- Cancer conferences that provide a forum for patient consultation and contribute to physician education.
- Quality improvement programs for evaluating and improving patient outcomes.
- A cancer registry and database for monitoring the quality of care.
New CoC accreditation standards released in 2012 ensure that key elements of quality cancer care are provided to every person with cancer who is treated in a CoC-Accredited facility. The standards emphasize patient-centered care, including:
- A patient navigation process to address health care disparities and barriers to care.
- Screening patients for psychosocial distress.
- A survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient received and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.
- Risk assessment and genetic counseling, and palliative care services.
In addition, a new standard now requires CoC programs to reach specific performance levels on measuring quality for treating patients with breast, colon, and rectal cancers. These “quality measures” are defined by the Commission on Cancer and endorsed by the National Quality Forum.
Evaluating Patterns of Care and Patient Outcomes: The National Cancer Data Base
The National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and the American Cancer Society, is a nationwide oncology outcomes database for CoC-Accredited cancer programs. Established in 1989, the NCDB now contains more than 26 million records. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed, and used to explore trends in cancer care. Information derived from the data analysis is used to create national, regional, and state benchmarks for participating hospitals and to serve as the basis for quality improvement. Visit www.facs.org/cancer/ncdb for more information.
Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS)
The Rapid Quality Reporting System (RQRS) – available to all CoC-Accredited cancer programs – provides real-time clinical assessment of hospital-level performance on National Quality Forum-endorsed quality of care measures for breast and colorectal cancers. Developed to assist CoC-Accredited cancer programs in promoting evidenced-based cancer care at the local level, RQRS is a web-based dashboard that provides alerts for anticipated care, supporting care coordination required for breast and colorectal cancer patients. Participation in RQRS is voluntary and free; however, a registration process is required. Visit www.facs.org/cancer/ncdb/rqrs.html for more information.