Eight Oncology Practices to Begin Quality Improvement Programs to Optimize Patient Care for Black Americans with Breast Cancer

Funding and Training Will be Provided by Susan G. Komen® and ASCO
January 26, 2021

Eight oncology practices in eight different U.S. metropolitan areas with high rates of breast cancer disparities between Black and white Americans have been selected to participate in the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s (ASCO) quality programs, including the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) and Quality Training Program (QTP). Today ASCO and Susan G. Komen (Komen), with funding from the Fund II Foundation for each practice’s training and participation, announced the recipients. The three-year program, will be administered through Conquer Cancer, the ASCO Foundation.

"It is unconscionable that Black women are 40 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than white women. Where you live and what you look like should not determine whether you live, yet we know for too many this is the case,” said Kim Johnson, the Senior Director of Komen’s African American Health Equity Initiative. “We know that we can significantly close the gaps in outcomes without a single new discovery, if we can just ensure everyone is getting high-quality care. We are excited about this collaboration because it gets us a step closer to achieving health equity in these communities.”

Komen has provided funding to cover expenses for eight clinical practices in metropolitan areas targeted by their African American Health Equity Initiative – a national initiative which aims to reduce breast cancer disparities in African Americans in the U.S. metropolitan areas where disparities are greatest.

“This collaboration with Susan G. Komen® aligns with ASCO’s efforts to achieve health equity for every patient, every day, everywhere,” said ASCO President Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO. “These practices now will be able to measure their quality of care and develop process improvement strategies and techniques to best serve patients with cancer in their communities."

The practices selected to be part of the “Bringing Quality Care Training to Komen’s African-American Health Equity Initiative” are: 

  • Glenn Family Breast Center, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University – Atlanta, GA
  • University of Maryland Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center – Baltimore, MD
  • Parkland Health and Hospital System – Dallas, TX
  • USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center – Los Angeles, CA
  • Howard University Cancer Center – Washington, DC
  • West Cancer Center and Research Institute – Memphis, TN
  • Loyola University Medical Center/Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center – Chicago, IL
  • Bon Secours Medical Oncology (Bon Secours Mercy Health System) - Norfolk, VA

The three-year program will allow practices to participate in the continuum of quality improvement initiatives the Society and the Association for Clinical Oncology offer, beginning with a site assessment and report to improve cancer care delivery. Practices will receive training on how to abstract chart data into QOPI® and then begin doing so. ASCO will provide training in identifying and solving problems that the practices face through participation and coaching in ASCO quality programs.

Komen also worked with ASCO to develop QOPI®, the Society’s flagship quality assessment program that has helped more than 1,000 practices to date conduct self-assessment and identify specific areas for quality improvement. Participating practices can report on over 130 evidence-based quality measures through the easy-to-use web-based collection tool and receive individual performance scores by practice, site, and provider, as well as benchmarked scores aggregated from all participating practices. The data and results then can be used to inform future quality improvement projects and initiatives.

Once each practice meets or exceeds a benchmark QOPI® score on measures that compare the quality of its care against national standards, it can take the next step of applying for the Association of Clinical Oncology’s QOPI® Certification. This entails undergoing an on-site audit and peer review by a team of oncology professionals to evaluate practice performance in areas that affect patient care and safety, including:

  • Qualifications of practice staff
  • Chart documentation
  • Chemotherapy preparation and administration
  • Patient monitoring and assessment
  • Preparedness for emergency situations.

Finally, each practice will participate in both the six-month and one-day versions of the Society’s Quality Training Program (QTP) course. The QTP brings cancer care teams together to select, design, and implement a quality improvement project at their practices. Experienced quality improvement coaches who are accomplished practitioners in oncology and quality improvement are assigned to help guide the teams. More than 200 teams have completed the program to date; view the library of past projects.

As part of these courses, each practice’s team will complete an independent project, putting their quality improvement skills into action, and participate in a Learning Collaborative with the other practices that examines common issues important to each practice, and the patients and communities they serve. The Learning Collaborative will help to identify gaps in care, disseminate lessons learned for improving quality of care, and create an opportunity for mentorship.

ASCO, American Society of Clinical Oncology, QOPI and QOPI Certification Program are trademarks of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. All rights are reserved.