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

CoC Cancer Liaison Physician

The Role of the Cancer Liaison Physician

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) Cancer Liaison Physician (CLP) is an integral and required member of a CoC-accredited cancer program’s cancer committee.

The CLP:

  • Is selected and appointed by the cancer committee.
  • Can be a physician of any specialty who is an active member of the medical staff.
  • Fulfills the role of physician quality leader of the cancer committee.
  • Serves as the alternate for the cancer committee chair and oversees cancer committee meetings if the chair is not in attendance.

It is permissible for the CLP to also serve as the cancer committee chair, but it is encouraged that the CLP role and the chair role be filled by two individuals.

The CoC Optimal Resources for Cancer Care (2020 Standards) include a Cancer Liaison Physician Standard (2.2) identifying the CLP as the physician quality leader of the cancer committee.

In this role the CLP is expected to:

  • Identify, analyze, and present National Cancer Database (NCDB) data pertinent and specific to the cancer program to the cancer committee at a minimum of two meetings each calendar year.
    • CLPs are given access to NCDB reporting tools that include survival reports, benchmarking, and other cancer program performance reports.
    • Data from the NCDB must be used as the basis of the reports.
    • Focus is given to areas of concern or where expected performance is not being met.
  • The CLP reports and details of the discussion with the cancer committee are documented in the cancer committee minutes or as an attachment to the minutes.
  • The CLP must attend the CoC site visit and meet with the site visit reviewer to discuss the cancer program, CLP responsibilities, and the NCDB quality reporting tools.

The CLP is also responsible for Standard 7.3 – Quality Improvement Initiative—where under the guidance of the CLP, the Quality Improvement Coordinator, and the cancer committee, the cancer program must measure, evaluate, and improve its performance through at least one cancer-specific quality improvement initiative each year. The CLP or Quality Improvement Coordinator must provide updates to the cancer committee on the QI initiative’s status at least twice each calendar year.

In addition, the CLP is expected to:

  • Be familiar with CoC Standard 7.1 - Accountability and Quality Improvement Measures, which requires the cancer committee to monitor the program’s expected Estimated Performance Rates for accountability and quality improvement measures selected by the CoC.
  • Serve as a liaison with the local American Cancer Society staff and facilitate their participation on the cancer committee.
  • Communicate with their state/regional CoC State Chair.

CLP Access to the NCDB

Upon appointment, CLPs are provided access to CoC Datalinks, the password-protected portal that contains information about their CoC-accredited cancer program. CLPs are encouraged to review descriptions of each of the Quality Cancer Tools and log in to CoC Datalinks to access and review their facility’s data. In the event you forget your password, please visit the Member Login page to use the Forgot User Name or Password feature to reset your password.

CLP Resources

The following resources are provided to assist CLPs with accessing CoC Datalinks, navigating select NCDB reporting tools, and preparing reports for the cancer committee to support compliance with Standard 2.2. Additional resources will be added as developed.

Reporting Templates