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

Update on Resources for Implementation of the CoC Operative Standards for Accreditation

As you are well aware, six operative standards have been included in the Commission on Cancer (CoC) Optimal Resources for Cancer Care 2020 Standards (Standard 5.3 through 5.8) and will go live in January. Implementation will be phased in and CoC accredited institutions will not be rated during 2021 site visits. At the recent CoC Plenary session, the background and evidence on the operative standards were discussed and concerns about implementation were solicited. Slides from the CoC Plenary are available on the CoC website.

In response to this feedback, the CoC is developing resources related to the operative standards to assist programs with implementation. These resources will be posted on a new webpage specifically focused on operative standards implementation. Matthew H.G. Katz, MD, FACS—a surgical oncologist at MD Anderson Cancer Center, and member of the operative standards expert panel—provides background on the operative standards in a brief video posted on the site.

PDFs of the relevant chapters from the Operative Standards for Cancer Surgery publications are posted to the webpage along with PDFs of the six CoC operative standards. Additionally, a list of frequently asked questions related to the operative standards compiled from feedback received during the CoC Plenary, CAnswer Forum, and recent CoC Educational Summit, will be posted on the operative standards website in the next 1 to 2 months.

In addition, the CoC is developing and will be providing synoptic reporting templates and smart-phrases for use, including electronic medical record (EMR) integration. Additional tools and resources will be developed over the coming months and posted to the website as they are made available. CoC-accredited programs are encouraged to wait for the synoptic operative report templates and EMR solutions in development and not create their own. More information will be released in the coming months in The Brief and on the CoC and Operative Standards webpages.

Finally, we want to give credit to the two focus groups comprised of CoC surveyors, administrators, cancer registrars, and surgeons from CoC-accredited cancer programs who met over the last three months to identify potential barriers and possible solutions to support implementation of the new operative standards. The members of these focus groups are listed below.

Breast/Melanoma Focus Group

Heather Penwell, RN, BSN

Kate Schumaker, RHIT, CTR

Angela Nicole Rodriguez, CTR

Christina M. Casteel, MD, FACS

Michele Carpenter, MD, FACS

Maria Castaldi, MD, FACS

Mary Ann Kosir, MD, FACS

Aaron Bleznak, MD, FACS

Magesh Sundaram, MD, FACS (Group Facilitator)

William Dooley, MD, FACS (Group Facilitator)

Colon/Rectum/Lung Focus Group

Christine Colarusso, CTR

Jennifer Karaus, CTR

Rose Ross, CTR

Jan P. Kaminski, MD, MBA, FACS, FASCRS

Dennis Tishko, MD, FACS

Bret Schipper, MD, FACS

Stephen Dreyer, MD, FACS (Group Facilitator)

Surya Nalamati, MBBS, FACS

Thomas L. Eisenhauer, MD, FACS


Feedback from these focus groups has resulted in the identification of resources to assist with implementation. We want to express our gratitude to these focus group members as well as acknowledge the numerous individuals who expressed interest in participating in the focus groups.

Thank you all for your continued support!