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

From the Director's Desk

"Hybrid": What Does That Even Mean?

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS

Heidi Nelson, MD, FACS
Medical Director, ACS Cancer Programs

Leaders, members, and staff of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Cancer Programs have worked for many years in a complex world of communications where e-mails, conference calls, and in-person meetings were used to build a national community of cancer care professionals focused on improving the quality of cancer care. In March of 2020, when the pandemic struck and we had to discontinue all in-person efforts, everyone stepped up to the plate to make it work, and all were immensely successful. We addressed the urgent deficits by turning to new virtual meeting tools to conduct our education, communications, accreditation survey, and planning activities, and we provided new materials to help cancer care professionals adjust their practices to keep patients safe from COVID-19 while still delivering much needed cancer care. Thanks to all of you, we were a huge success in spite of major challenges to our approaches to work. As the pandemic starts to recede in our local communities, and it is increasingly safe to meet in person, we have to ask how much of the virtual world we should retain. What is better, and what is missing from the virtual existence?

Some obvious advantages of the virtual world are that ideas and activities can move more quickly and reach more people. In the past, the cost and inconvenience of travel limited participation, but with virtual meetings and conferences we have seen greater attendance and engagement. Some clear disadvantages are that the virtual world feels more transactional, with less socializing and fewer opportunities to enjoy the unplanned interactions and affirmations that come from being in person with people of common interests. In the coming months it will be important for all of us to authentically assess the benefits of being in person and developing the relationships and community that bring a sense of belonging and commitment versus the benefits of reaching more people and moving faster through transactional work. Both are important and will be part of the future "hybrid" world. We made our way through the pandemic with grace and adaptability and there is no doubt we will find our hybrid world in the same way; we just have to do it.

Return to Screening PDSA and Clinical Study: Frequently Asked Questions about Standards Credit

As we have entered the second stage of the Return to Screening PDSA Clinical Study, we have received several questions regarding credit for the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and/or National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) standards.

If you complete one or more screening interventions, you will receive credit for CoC Standard 8.3 OR NAPBC Standard 4.1.

If you complete the interventions and the PDSA and post it in the PRQ for your site visit, you will receive credit for CoC Standards 7.3 and 8.3 OR NAPBC Standards 4.1 and 6.1.

Finally, if you complete the first two and submit your data on rates of screening through the designated REDCap for the clinical research study, you will receive credit for all three standards for either the CoC (7.3, 8.3, 9.1) OR the NAPBC (3.2, 4.1, 6.1). It is expected that programs will demonstrate achievement of their designated target screening goal by the end of November. However, participation will still qualify if the 10 percent increase goal is not met as long as there is documentation of continued efforts to improve the rate. This includes, but is not limited to, assessing your improvement and trying multiple interventions in an attempt to close the gap.

Completing the research study (in other words, completing and submitting required REDCap forms A, B, and C by their deadlines) will fully meet CoC Standard 9.1 or NAPBC Standard 3.2.

Even though programs will receive full credit for CoC Standard 9.1 or NAPBC Standard 3.2 by completing this study, programs are still expected to complete and submit required documentation (for example, templates or PRQ questions) related to other cancer-related clinical research accruals for 2021 for internal quality improvement purposes and for discussion at future site visits.

Please note, programs that did not fill out the REDedCap FORM A are no longer eligible to participate in the Return to Screening PDSA.

The FAQ page is located online within the Return to Screening page. Questions for the CoC may be directed to, and NAPBC questions may be directed to