Best Practices for Cancer Centers
One of the primary values that indicate an excellent cancer center is a dedication to patient care and on-going research in the field of cancer treatment. There aren’t many cancer care centers that are focused solely on cancer care. Some are located in hospitals that treat many conditions. Others work cooperatively as part of a group of services. There is one thing that cancer care centers have in common, however. This commonality lies in the patients and families who come to the center doors seeking treatment, comfort, and understanding.
When a person is confronted with the news that he has cancer, many different emotions and thoughts will take hold. Suddenly, the fear of the unknown takes hold and cancer becomes the over-riding thought – permeating every minute of every day. One important step on the path of cancer treatment and recovery is to find a treatment center with good practices and an outstanding reputation.
One of these practices is the ability to provide all of the services that a patient needs. This includes radiation services, social support, and spiritual needs. This whole care setting allows the patient and their family to receive whole healing without traveling between clinics, pharmacies, and doctors’ offices. As spiritual and emotional needs are met, the physical treatment of cancer can be more successful.
Coordinated care that is focused on the patient is another important practice. If each nurse, naturopath, counselor, and all of the other involved professionals has the opportunity to discuss and collaborate their care efforts, the patient will experience well-rounded, comprehensive treatment. The professionals in many hospitals often work in their own areas without many opportunities to talk at all. In a cancer treatment center with coordinated care, the patients will benefit as professionals work together.
Another practice that sets the best treatment centers apart from the rest is the decision to put their physicians on a salary. A salaried model removes many of the incentives presented to doctors to over-test or to rush through their time with patients. It also eliminates much of the competition that sometimes occurs between medical professionals. Instead, decisions will be made based on what is best for the patients.
As the center narrows its focus to cancer treatment, it will have the ability to invest in experienced specialists with specific training in the different types of cancer. The treatment for breast cancer may have different elements than the treatment for melanoma. The specialists will attract patients and this in turn will bring in the financial resources necessary to invest in the newest technology and the trained staff to run it.
While patient care is the primary concern, the business end of the care center must also be strong. The financial security of the center represents the guarantee that the center and the professionals will still be there if patients need to return for services. The patients and the quality of care will suffer if the center doesn’t have a stable financial situation.
The investment in top quality technology is another important practice. This technology should cover the billing programs as well as the machines used in testing and treatment. Access to the best equipment for running a PET scan or to conduct blood work is vital, as is access to technology housing the medical records and insurance information.
Finally, the treatment center must pass accreditation processes and obtain certification from the appropriate entities. In order to hold onto their certification, the care center typically must pass the inspection of treatment planning, staff training and education, patient consent and education, chemotherapy orders, drug preparation, safe administration of chemotherapy, and their ability to monitor and assess patient well-being. One of the most programs administering this type of accreditation is the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program which is connected with the American Society of Clinical Oncology.
Although there are many reasons behind a professional’s decision to work with cancer patients, many of them have some connection with cancer in their own histories. Although financial compensation is a necessity for the center and each employee, it isn’t the main consideration. Most of the staff at a top-notch treatment center are there because they hope to provide excellent care for their patients. They hope to improve the lives of the cancer patient and their families. The staff at a cancer care center with the best practices will be rewarded for the quality of their treatment of patients.