American College Of Surgeons - Inspiring Quality: Highest Standards, Better Outcomes

Pennsylvania Cancer Centers Publicly Release Outcomes Data

In the first data release of its kind in the U.S., patients can examine individual cancer programs quality results on a statewide basis


CHICAGO (December 9, 2013): The American College of Surgeons (ACoS) Commission on Cancer (CoC) has joined with the Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance (PHCQA) to make cancer quality data from participating Pennsylvania hospitals available to the public. The initiative, which is the first of its kind in the U.S., will include data from 72 percent (52 programs) of all CoC-accredited cancer programs in Pennsylvania.

“Participation in this project is an excellent opportunity for Commission on Cancer accredited programs in Pennsylvania to publicly demonstrate their dedication to quality and to validate their performance on national quality measures,” CoC Chair Daniel P. McKellar, MD, FACS, said. “The Commission on Cancer applauds the Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance for their commitment to improving the quality of health care by providing the public with valuable information regarding cancer treatment outcomes in Pennsylvania hospitals.”

PHCQA chose to work with the CoC on this initiative because of the CoC’s experience in developing and monitoring quality measures in its cancer programs, according to Dr. McKellar. He also said that this health care quality initiative is important for patients because it provides public access to quality data from participating facilities in Pennsylvania. Additionally, the website provides a list of CoC-accredited cancer centers in Pennsylvania.

“We commend the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer and the over 50 CoC-accredited facilities in Pennsylvania for their commitment to transparency and accountability. Partnering with them has afforded patients with a unique opportunity to examine which cancer programs are achieving high quality results through compliance with standards of care,” Erik Muther, PHCQA Executive Director, said.

The National Cancer Database (NCDB), a nationwide oncology database operated by the American Cancer Society and Commission on Cancer, played an important role in making this collaboration happen. The NCDB staff was instrumental in developing the agreements from the participating facilities, recruiting facilities to participate, and reporting the data to the PHCQA, according to Dr. McKellar. He also noted that all CoC programs must report data on each cancer patient treated at their institutions. These are the data used to monitor compliance with the quality measures, which are specific cancer care recommendations utilized for quality improvement.

“The opportunity to leverage data from the National Cancer Database has allowed us to share evidence-based metrics that demonstrate adherence to high standards of care,” said Mr. Muther.

The outcomes reporting from this initiative is available on the PHCQ website at

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About the American College of Surgeons
The American College of Surgeons is a scientific and educational organization of surgeons that was founded in 1913 to raise the standards of surgical practice and improve the quality of care for all surgical patients. The College is dedicated to the ethical and competent practice of surgery. Its achievements have significantly influenced the course of scientific surgery in America and have established it as an important advocate for all surgical patients. The College has more than 79,000 members and is the largest organization of surgeons in the world. For more information, visit

About The Commission on Cancer
The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons is a consortium of professional organizations dedicated to improving survival and quality of life for cancer patients through standard-setting, prevention, research, education, and the monitoring of comprehensive quality care. Established by the American College of Surgeons in 1922, the multidisciplinary CoC establishes standards to ensure quality, multidisciplinary, and comprehensive cancer care delivery in health care settings; conducts surveys in health care settings to assess compliance with those standards; collects standardized data from CoC-accredited health care settings to measure cancer care quality; uses data to monitor treatment patterns and outcomes and enhance cancer control and clinical surveillance activities, and develops effective educational interventions to improve cancer prevention, early detection, cancer care delivery, and outcomes in health care settings.

The Pennsylvania Health Care Quality Alliance is a nonprofit coalition of heath care organizations working together collaboratively to improve the quality of health care for the people of Pennsylvania. PHCQA’s work focuses on two key areas: promoting responsible public reporting of health care information and supporting Pennsylvania health care providers’ ability to deliver quality and value. Alliance members include The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania (HAP), which represents more than 225 hospitals and health systems across the state; the Pennsylvania Medical Society; the Delaware Valley Healthcare Council of HAP; the Hospital Council of Western Pennsylvania; Geisinger Health Plan; UPMC Health Plan; Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania; Capital BlueCross; Highmark; Independence Blue Cross; and Pfizer.


Dan Hamilton
Sally Garneski