Accreditation: why does it matter?

By Terri Bentler, BSN, RN, OCN, CN-BN Jun 02, 2017

Before receiving cancer care, did you research where to receive treatment? What were the criteria you required for your care? Did you notice whether the cancer center was accredited or not when deciding where you would go for treatment?

Finding an accredited cancer center is an important consideration when choosing a facility for cancer treatment. Accreditation is a process of review a health care organization participates in to demonstrate the ability to meet regulatory requirements and standards established by a recognized accreditation organization.

Accreditation organizations give facilities a set of national standards for excellent care, with an expectation of consistency and excellence in quality, accountability and patient safety. Surveyors from across the country converge on a facility and evaluate the care provided, compared to the national standards. The facility is surveyed for compliance of the expected standards, and if standards are met, the accreditation is received.

There are numerous accreditations available in health care:

  • Many hospitals and clinics are accredited through the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Hospital Organizations (JCAHO). Receiving care at a JCAHO accredited hospital or clinic provides a higher level of confidence for patients and ensures the facility offers great care.
  • Oncology care has similar accreditation organizations. The Commission on Cancer, through the American College of Surgeons, is a general accreditation organization for cancer care. The required standards directly impact patient care, through multidisciplinary team development, support services, care improvement projects, continuing education and patient advocacy.
  • Breast health is monitored by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). NAPBC focuses on all areas of breast health, from screening and diagnosis to treatment and surveillance. They also have a multidisciplinary focus to provide quality, innovative patient-centered care.

What’s this mean for you? Accreditation organizations provide you with the information to choose a quality facility for your cancer care. Through the eyes of an experienced surveyor, accreditation means the gold standard of care is held up because only those facilities that have challenged themselves to provide excellent care become accredited. This is a great assurance for patients requiring the best.

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