The Cancer Care Center at Alton Memorial Hospital has demonstrated compliance with the standards of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO) Accreditation Program for Excellence (APEx). Effective March 31, 2017, the Cancer Care Center has a four-year accreditation of its radiation oncology services, making it the first center in Illinois to achieve that designation.
APEx is an independent radiation oncology practice accreditation program developed by ASTRO based on a comprehensive set of 16 evidence-based standards of radiation oncology practice. The standards are focused on five pillars of patient care: 1) the process of care; 2) the radiation oncology team; 3) safety; 4) quality management; and 5) patient-centered care.
“The Cancer Care Center is pleased to receive APEx accreditation from the premier radiation oncology society in the world,” said Stacey Ballard, manager of Radiation Oncology at AMH. “Evaluating our processes in relation to ASTRO’s high standards, including standards for safety and quality, validates our practices and recognizes the efforts of our radiation oncology team to deliver patient-centered radiation oncology care.”
ccreditation through APEx is a rigorous, voluntary, multi-step process that can take up to one year to complete. Each center seeking APEx accreditation must have its policies and procedures evaluated using objective, verifiable expectations for performance in radiation oncology. It must demonstrate its commitment to high standards of safety and quality in the practice of radiation oncology and that it practices patient-centered care by promoting effective communication, coordinating treatment, and engaging patients and their families as partners in care.
“Achieving APEx accreditation is a tremendous honor and a testament to the strength of our clinical and administrative teams,” said Dr. Gregory Vlacich, MD, PhD, medical director of Radiation Oncology at Alton Memorial Hospital. “In conjunction with our partners within the BJC and Washington University systems, accreditation further highlights our collaborative efforts to provide high-quality, patient-directed, and technologically-advanced care to the Riverbend area.”
APEx has a distinctive program structure that includes both a self-assessment process and a facility visit conducted by a medical physicist and a radiation oncologist, radiation therapist, nurse, dosimetrist, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or practice administrator. APEx integrates Maintenance of Certification templates that promote value and efficiency for physicians and final evaluation reports that link standards and performance to quality improvement resources.
Pictured above: Lori Hasquin and Dr. Gregory Vlacich treat a patient in Alton Memorial Hospital’s Cancer Care Center.