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Doug Hutton
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Association of Community Cancer Centers Announces Findings of National Initiative to Support Quality Care for Stage III and IV NSCLC

Key Learnings Now Available
Ahead of Lung Cancer Awareness Month

Rockville, MD—The Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC) in collaboration with AstraZeneca, a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company, has announced the findings of a national quality care initiative for patients with stage III and stage IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

ACCC conducted a national multi-phase effort to provide guidance on key issues related to the optimization of care for patients diagnosed with Stages III and IV NSCLC. To achieve this goal, the project explored coordination and communication within the multidisciplinary cancer care team to understand existing barriers and create and execute process improvement plans that address these barriers.

An expert ACCC Steering Committee used selection criteria to choose and offer Quality Improvement (QI) assistance to six cancer programs across the United States, looking to identify ways to improve care for patients with Stage III and IV NSCLC. The committee, composed of experts from multiple disciplines is chaired by David Spigel, MD, Chief Scientific Officer and Director, Lung Cancer Research Program at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute. He is also a member of the ACCC Board of Trustees, and chairman of the initiative’s steering committee.

As a result of this project, the six cancer programs identified ways to improve care for patients with Stage III and IV NSCLC. Each cancer program focused on areas that were most relevant to their practice setting and found specific ways to incorporate the latest evidence and clinical practice guidelines.

The initial six cancer programs to implement the QI program include:

  • FirstHealth of the Carolinas, Moore Regional Hospital - Pinehurst, NC
  • Saint Francis Cancer Center - Tulsa, OK
  • Southern Ohio Medical Center - Portsmouth, OH
  • Sutter Heath, Sutter Medical Center - Sacramento, CA
  • Tennessee Oncology - Nashville, TN
  • O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama - Birmingham, AL

Process improvements were made to optimize biomarker testing, monitor patients for immune-mediated adverse reactions, and engage members of the cancer care team to increase palliative care and reduce unnecessary emergency department utilization. Several cancer programs found ways to reduce delays in testing and/or to improve their use of liquid biopsy testing in patients with advanced NSCLC. While the COVID-19 pandemic caused significant disruptions in care delivery, the participating sites remained committed to implementing changes around biomarker testing, care delivery, and symptom management. To read the full findings, procedures to implement the QI projects, and view videos on learnings from each program, visit ACCC’s website.

“Our hope is that by sharing these findings with the greater oncology community, multidisciplinary care teams will be able to apply these tested models across care settings—from large academic institutions to smaller community programs or practices—to help bridge gaps and create greater outcomes for patients with stage III and stage IV non-small cell lung cancer,” said Dr. Spigel.

This project is part of a multi-phase initiative, Fostering Excellence in Care and Outcomes in Patients with Stage III and IV NSCLC, which seeks to improve interdisciplinary communication and care coordination for patients with stage III and IV NSCLC, led by the Association of Community Cancer Centers (ACCC), along with partner organizations, the American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST), the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC), and LUNGevity Foundation. Together, they are facilitating peer-led development of resources and tools to support the goal of excellence in care and outcomes for patients with NSCLC in all settings of care. Learn more here.

About the Association of Cancer Care Centers

The Association of Cancer Care Centers (ACCC) is the leading education and advocacy organization for the cancer care community. Founded in 1974, ACCC is a powerful network of 40,000 multidisciplinary practitioners from 2,100 hospitals and practices nationwide. As advances in cancer screening and diagnosis, treatment options, and care delivery models continue to evolve - so has ACCC - adapting its resources to meet the changing needs of the entire oncology care team. For more information, visit Follow us on social media; read our blog, ACCCBuzz; tune in to our CANCER BUZZ podcast; and view our CANCER BUZZ TV channel.