A new certification program from the Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) seeks to transform cancer care by centering on each patient’s unique needs, increasing care coordination, and delivering evidence-based care.
The ASCO Certified program, which launched in October, works by certifying oncology group practices and health systems that meet a single set of comprehensive, evidence-based oncology medical home (OMH) standards from ASCO and the Community Oncology Alliance (COA). These standards focus on seven different domains of cancer care: patient engagement; availability and access to care; evidence-based medicine; equitable and comprehensive team-based care; quality improvement; goals of care, palliative, and end-of-life care discussions; and chemotherapy safety.
ASCO said the program was informed by real-world feedback from a pilot of 12 practice groups and health systems across 95 service sites and 500 oncologists. The cohort comprised a variety of settings, including community, hospital, academic and rural.
"We believe the ASCO Certified program will support practices as they strive to deliver optimal care in the face of an evolving and challenging environment,” said ASCO CEO Clifford A. Hudis, M.D., in a statement. “This program focuses on the most important stakeholders— the patients. It provides them with a medical home, and it empowers practices to embrace value-based care while enhancing quality.”
“When the entire cancer care team uses comprehensive care standards that are focused on quality and value, a model emerges that puts patients at the center,” said Judy Alberto, M.H.A., R.P.h., director of clinical initiatives at the Community Oncology Alliance, in a statement. “We are proud to collaborate on the certification program, because when practices use a team-based approach to deliver high-quality, patient-centered care, outcomes of the cancer care delivery system are improved.”
ASCO summarized the responses from pilot participants by saying they benefitted from having a blueprint for delivering high-quality cancer care. Practices said they routinely found hidden opportunities to improve care for patients and the function of their business. Ninety percent said they experienced new, more efficient ways to provide care and made tangible improvements in equitable care for patients.
"We’re confident that this new model for patient-centered cancer care delivery is achievable for all oncology practices, regardless of their practice setting,” Hudis said. "By doing the work to meet these standards, ASCO Certified practices will be better-equipped to deliver high-quality, equitable, evidence-based care for every single patient.”
The pilot participants were: Blue Ridge Cancer Care, Roanoke, Va.; Cancer & Hematology Centers of Western Michigan, Grand Rapids, Mich.; Central Georgia Cancer Care, Macon, Ga.; Hematology-Oncology Associates of CNY, East Syracuse, N.Y.; Memorial Cancer Institute, Hollywood, Fla.; Nebraska Hematology-Oncology, PC, Lincoln, Neb.; Maine Center for Cancer Medicine & Blood Disorders, DBA New England Cancer Specialists, Scarborough, Maine; Jefferson Health - Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, Philadelphia, Penn.; Tennessee Oncology, a partner of OneOncology, Nashville, Tenn.; The Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders, a partner of OneOncology, Fort Worth, Texas; University of Colorado Cancer Center (Anschutz Medical Campus and Cherry Creek Medical Center), Aurora, Colo.; and Yale New Haven Health (Smilow Cancer Hospital at Guilford and The Center for Breast Cancer at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center), New Haven, Conn.
To become ASCO Certified, oncology practices must demonstrate compliance with the OMH standards, including undergoing an onsite survey every three years as well as following ongoing measurement and continuous quality improvement standards.