PINEHURST – The Cancer Registry documents every patient who is diagnosed with and/or treated for cancer at the hospital. A database that was started in 1990 currently includes more than 22,000 names.
The Registry’s 3.5 employees and single volunteer use a variety of methods, including checking medical records and scanning newspaper obituaries, to maintain contact with patients and assure the lifelong follow-up provided by a Commission on Cancer (CoC)-accredited cancer program.
This patient follow-up played a significant role in the CoC’s decision to re-accredit Moore Regional’s cancer services program, with commendation, for another three years. So did the fact that all of the hospital’s pathologists meet standards that are set by the College of American Pathologists (CAP).
“The recurrent accreditation is a statement of the quality of cancer services available at FirstHealth and the breadth of those services, as well as our ability to keep up with important changes in the field,” says Ellen Willard, M.D., a board certified medical oncologist and hematologist and medical director of the FirstHealth Outpatient Cancer Center. “This should provide patients with the assurance that they get quality care close to home when they come to FirstHealth.”
CoC accreditation assures patients that a hospital has complied with standards that represent the full scope of a cancer program: cancer committee leadership, cancer data management, clinical services, research, community outreach and quality improvement. Moore Regional’s program, which met all of the commendation-level standards according to an evaluation by an on-site physician surveyor early this year, has been continuously accredited by the CoC since 1995.
“Accreditation with commendation means that FirstHealth is voluntarily committing to meet the standards that confirm we have the best cancer care available,” says Leta Vess, who supervises Moore Regional’s Cancer Registry. “Patients can be assured that our program covers everything that needs to be available for cancer care.”
Established by the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) in 1922, the CoC is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival rates and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of comprehensive, quality care. Its membership includes Fellows of the American College of Surgeons and 42 national organizations that reflect the full spectrum of cancer care.
Core CoC functions include setting standards for quality, multidisciplinary cancer patient care; surveying facilities to evaluate compliance with the 36 CoC standards; collecting standardized and quality data from accredited facilities; and using the data to develop effective educational interventions to improve cancer care outcomes at the national, state and local levels.
Receiving care at a CoC-accredited cancer program ensures that a patient will have access to:
- Comprehensive care, including a range of state-of-the-art services and equipment
- A multi-specialty team approach to coordinate the best treatment options
- Information about ongoing clinical trials and new treatment options
- Access to cancer-related information, education and support
- A cancer registry that collects data on type and stage of cancers and treatment results and offers lifelong patient follow-up
- Ongoing monitoring and improvement of care
- Quality care close to home
Cancer patient information is reported, in strict accordance with all HIPAA privacy regulations, by each CoC-accredited cancer program to the CoC’s National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint CoC/American Cancer Society program that contains patient demographics, tumor characteristics, and treatment and outcomes information for more than 18 million cancer patients diagnosed and treated at hospital cancer programs in the United States between 1985 and 2004. The data accounts for about two-thirds of newly diagnosed cancer cases in the U.S. each year.
During 2010, 1,137 new cases of cancer were diagnosed at Moore Regional while another 246 recurrent cases (those initially diagnosed and treated elsewhere) were treated at the hospital.
Lung cancer tops the list of local diagnoses, which also includes breast, prostate and colon followed by urinary bladder cancer and lymphoma.
“The incidence of types of cancer here is consistent with national rates,” says Dr. Willard.
For more information on the cancer services that are available , call (800) 231-3284 or visit www.firsthealth.org/cancer.