March 20, 2017
WICHITA — Wesley Medical Center’s outstanding cancer program just earned accreditation from the Commission on Cancer (CoC) – part of the American College of Surgeons – underscoring its commitment to providing comprehensive, high-quality, and multidisciplinary patient-centered care.
To earn this gold standard for oncology, Wesley met 34 required quality-care standards, proving the hospital is committed to improving the survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education and the monitoring of care.
“This is all about focusing on what is best for our patients,” said Cheryl Bolton, Wesley Healthcare director of oncology. “Not that we didn’t have these things in place before, but now it’s a more standardized way of having these things with national recognition.”
Being a CoC-accredited cancer center means Wesley takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.
The process toward accreditation, which began in November 2014, included copious policy writing and putting processes into place that enhance and embrace patient-centered care.
That included the formation of a tumor board, which brings together oncology experts – a radiation oncologist, a medical oncologist and a radiologist – in the same room to discuss and formulate plans around a patient’s treatment. Wesley’s cancer program also features a genetic counselor, certified oncology nurses, a dietician in the radiology oncology area and palliative care.
The program recently hired a nurse dedicated to running Wesley’s new Survivorship Clinic, which focuses on patients who are in remission and surviving a cancer diagnosis.
"I am proud to have the opportunity to collaborate with the multiple specialists and support staff to obtain COC accreditation on behalf of Wesley,” said medical oncologist Phu Truong, MD, Wesley’s oncology medical director. “I will continue to pursue the mission of the Cancer Center of Kansas to provide personalized, quality and compassionate cancer care to our patients and appreciate Wesley's commitment in providing the innovative technological resources to support our mission for the citizens of Kansas."
The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Wesley to continue to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related program that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care, including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment plans, rehabilitation, life-long follow-up for recurrent disease and end-of-life care.
When patients receive care at Wesley, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling and patient-centered services, including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve a cancer survivors’ quality of life.
Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Wesley maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base, a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society. This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the database and used to explore trends in cancer care.
CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality-improvement efforts.
The American Cancer Society estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed this year. CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed patients with cancer. When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive care, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home.
“I have no doubt the patients of Kansas are benefiting from the policies, protocols and services the Wesley team has structured over the past two years leading to accreditation,” said Casey Guber, chief operating officer for Wesley Healthcare. “I am excited to continue the progression of oncology services at Wesley – 2017 will be a great year with many new technologies and services on our horizon.”
The CoC accreditation is just one of the recent developments in Wesley’s efforts to expand its oncology services program. In a partnership with KU School of Medicine – Wichita, two pediatric hematologist oncologists, Rajoo Thapa, MD, and Nathan Hall, DO, were hired this past summer to provide pediatric oncology services to Wesley Children’s Hospital. In February, the children’s hospital began offering pediatric patient and family support groups as well as a cancer survivorship program.