By Dwight E. Heron, M.D., FACRO, FACR, director of Radiation Services,
|Dwight E. Heron, M.D.|
In the fight against cancer, radiation is one of the tools often used
to treat patients, either alone or in combination with other therapies. Radiation oncology
involves specialized skill and knowledge of the latest technology to
ensure patients are receiving the highest quality of care. At the UPMCCancerCenter
, we’ve been providing that care to patients in and around
Pittsburgh at 21 centers dedicated to radiation oncology.
So it was with great pride that we learned this month that the AmericanCollege of Radiation Oncology (ACRO)
had given our centers accreditation, a
move that makes the UPMC CancerCenter the largest accredited radiation oncology
network in the United States, and the only one with this stamp of approval in
the region. This is an important distinction for us and especially our patients
because the validation from ACRO means we are following the highest standards
and providing the best care possible in the treatment of cancer and other
ACRO is the only national accreditation body dedicated to radiation oncology. As part of
the accreditation process, ACRO sent teams of specialists to our facilities
over the past year in a rigorous process to evaluate everything from staff certifications
to patient charts. The standards that help us excel include:
- Peer Review. While sites with multiple
physicians peer review each other during weekly chart rounds, we also connect
sites with one physician, via web-based modules, to their colleagues on a
weekly basis to discuss one another’s cases.
This ensures another pair of eyes and ideas, harnessing the power of our
collective experience that is uniquely UPMC.
- Team Environment. All of our staff are involved in the treatment
of patients, from the physician and nurses to radiation therapists and physicists.
- Staffing. We ensure proper staffing to provide
high quality care and ensure all staff have the proper licenses and
certifications. Education programs are also in place to constantly improve staff
competence across a variety of domains.
- Patient Safety. All treatment equipment is thoroughly
checked daily, monthly and annually to ensure optimal performance and
compliance with regulatory requirements .
Safety procedures are continually evaluated to ensure that patients and
staff are protected.
- Quality Management. Many quality assurance and
quality control processes are in place to ensure that patients receive intended
treatment. We are always looking for ways to improve our system through Continuous
Quality Improvement Initiatives and constantly strive to achieve high patient satisfaction, process optimization,
and effective communication among the entire treatment team. The UPMC CancerCenter focuses efforts on not
maintaining, but excelling and leading others to do the same.
UPMC CancerCenter, a partner in cancer care with the University of
Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, is western Pennsylvania’s only National Cancer
Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. We’re proud of our work here,
the services we provide and the high standards we adhere to, whether it be at
the bedside or in the lab. We’re glad that ACRO agreed.