Survey reveals low awareness about the importance of breast care center accreditation
NEWS FROM THE AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SURGEONS | FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO (October 1, 2009): According to new research from the American College of Surgeons (ACoS), two-thirds of women (66 percent) did not know about accreditation of breast care centers, what it means, and why it is important. However, after providing women who were surveyed with an overview of the meaning of accreditation, they overwhelmingly (92 percent) find it to be an important aspect in choosing a breast cancer treatment facility.
To be “accredited,” breast care centers must follow a comprehensive and consistent set of standards for treatment. They must also support patients’ social and emotional needs. These centers are surveyed by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC), an interdisciplinary consortium of leading patient care groups and professional medical societies involved in breast care. The NAPBC is administered by the ACoS and is the latest quality improvement program it offers. There are now more than 84 centers across the country already accredited through this program.
“What women don’t realize is where they choose to seek treatment can impact the care they receive and, ultimately, the results they achieve,” said David Winchester, MD, FACS, medical director for the College’s cancer programs. “It’s important for the approximately 250,000 women diagnosed in the U.S. with invasive and non-invasive breast cancer each year to know about the advanced treatment and guidance provided by accredited centers, such as expert staff and support that continues even during follow-up care.”
The study, conducted by KRC Research on behalf of ACoS, found that even a majority of women (59 percent) who had personal experience with breast cancer–whether themselves or through a close friend or family member–admitted they were not aware or sure if breast cancer treatment centers can be accredited.
Though awareness was low across the board, additional survey results found younger women were significantly less knowledgeable than their older counterparts; 74 percent of women under the age of 45 were not aware or sure if breast cancer treatment centers can be accredited compared with 58 percent of women ages 45 and older.
Centers that seek accreditation must adhere to rigorous requirements including the following:
- All physicians are board certified or are in the process of getting board certified.
- Nurses have specialized knowledge and training in breast cancer and diseases.
- Patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team of medical experts and specialists.
- Patients and their families receive continued support during and after treatment to help them cope with the disease.
- The center continuously collects breast cancer data on indicators involved in breast cancer.
- The center provides information about clinical trials and new treatment options.
- Patients have access to a “patient navigator,” a person who serves as their primary contact and guide all through her treatment and follow-up care.
Additional findings from the survey showed women viewed board certification of physicians to be the most important requirement when it comes to accreditation. Secondly, the specialized knowledge and training of nurses was another appealing requirement. Ninety-six percent said nurses having specialized knowledge and training in breast cancer and other breast diseases was an important requirement.
Not surprising was the importance women (almost 95 percent) placed on the continuous research and data collection done when it comes to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
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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 www.facs.org.
About the Survey
This survey was conducted by KRC Research on behalf of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) regarding perceptions of accreditation of breast cancer treatment centers. The national survey was conducted via telephone among a random sample of 500 adult women, age 18 and older. The estimated margin of error is +/- 4.4 percentage points. The survey was conducted September 11-14, 2009.
About the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC)
NAPBC is a consortium of national, professional organizations dedicated to the improvement of the quality of care and the monitoring of outcomes for patients with diseases of the breast. For more information, visit www.accreditedbreastcenters.org.
Cory Suzan Petty