First launched in 2014, the annual Quality Training Program was introduced by the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) out of the recognition that oncology professionals want to improve patients’ experiences and clinical outcomes in their busy oncology practices. On July 14, 2016, ASCO announced the 14 practices that are participating in the 2016 Quality Training Program, which include the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, the NorthShore Kellogg Cancer Center, and Tennessee Oncology, among others, all of which are listed in the Table.1
“The Quality Training Program allows practices to seek and receive guidance on holistically assessing and improving systemic areas of the care they provide,”1 said incoming ASCO President Daniel F. Hayes, MD, FASCO, the Stuart B. Padnos Professor of Breast Cancer Research and Clinical Director of the Breast Oncology Program at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Ann Arbor.
Since its establishment, the Quality Training Program has led to meaningful improvements in the overall quality of care in participating practices. For example, in 2015:
- In one practice, emergency department utilization for patients decreased by 60%
- In another practice, the rate of symptom management calls being addressed within 2 hours increased from 48% to 73%
- In a third practice, the rate of written informed consent obtained for oral chemotherapy increased from 0% to 73%.
Quality Improvement Initiatives in Oncology Practices
The 6-month Quality Training Program prepares oncology practices to design, implement, and lead successful quality improvement initiatives. The program is structured to provide 5 days of in-person learning in 3 sessions comprising seminars, case examples, and small group exercises. With help from experienced coaches, each oncology team selects a quality improvement project to solve a problem that is unique to their clinical setting, applying what they learned in class.
Physicians, nurses, and pharmacists participating in the 2016 Quality Training Program can also receive continuing medical education credits. Participation in the program can also help the practice to better prepare for the ongoing changes in reimbursement that are based on quality measures.
After completing the program, participants will gain knowledge and skills in several areas, including forming a high-functioning quality improvement team, identifying clinical and operational targets for quality improvement, planning and implementing strategies for successful quality improvement in their practices, understanding and utilizing data to improve the quality of care delivery, and tracking performance over time.
Get Ready for Your 2017 Application
In light of these reported benefits to current practices, consult with your practice to consider participation. Applications for the 2017 Quality Training Program will become available in March 2017. Practices interested in getting more information on how to apply for the Quality Training Program should visit www.asco.org/training-education/professional-development/quality-training-program.
- American Society of Clinical Oncology. ASCO announces the fourteen practices participating in the 2016 Quality Training Program. Press release. July 14, 2016. www.asco.org/about-asco/press-cen ter/news-releases/asco-announces-fourteen-prac tices-participating-2016-quality. Accessed August 24, 2016.