Providing quality care to our oncology patients has been the cornerstone philosophy of the Regional Cancer Center for nearly 40 years. By supporting the clinical, educational and emotional needs of our patients and their families, we are shaping the future of oncology care in our region. Our new cancer center and affiliation with UW Health are prime examples of this.
Diane Scoville, MSHA
In April, the Illinois Certificate of Need board approved our plans to construct a 63,000-square-foot, free-standing cancer center, and we broke ground on the facility in June. Located at 3535 N. Bell School Rd. in Rockford, the two-story SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center will offer medical oncology, chemotherapy and infusion services; radiation therapy; medical imaging, including on-site PET/CT; healing gardens; and financial, social and spiritual counseling.
Together with our colleagues from the University of Wisconsin's Carbone Cancer Center, we believe that our new center will become the preeminent destination for comprehensive cancer care in northern Illinois by creating a superior patient experience and delivering exceptional treatment outcomes. This will be accomplished by providing world class academic medical and specialty care with a compassionate and holistic approach. However, we are not waiting for the construction of our new building to be completed before starting to enhance the services provided to our patients. We are starting now!
Over the past year SwedishAmerican Radiation Oncologist Dr. Prakash Pedapati was honored with the 2012 Henry C. Anderson Quality Award. In addition, our quality team began its journey toward the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI) accreditation. QOPI was developed by world-renowned practicing oncologists and quality experts, using evidence-based clinical guidelines and published standards, such as the National Initiative on Cancer Care Quality (NICCQ), ASCO/NCCN Quality Measures and ASTRO/ASCO/AMA PCPI Oncology Measures to continuously integrate quality improvement into patient-centered clinical practice.
This year, our Holistic Service department expanded its presence within the cancer center to include pet, music and art therapies. In addition, our Social Service department developed and implemented the new THRIVE survivorship program, which focuses on supporting the emotional, psychosocial and spiritual needs of our oncology patients and their families. Our Patient and Family Advisory Council continues to provide a strong, guiding voice in the development of our many services, outreach clinics and programs.
We expanded our regional services this year by offering a multi-disciplinary outreach clinic in Belvidere that includes both radiation and medical oncology consultative services to our patients in Boone and McHenry Counties. In addition, Kristin Rindt, PA-C joined Drs. Esfahani and Shipp at our Dixon clinic on Thursdays to increase weekly coverage from two days to three. Finally, we have developed and implemented two UW Health outreach clinics in hematology and genetic counseling services.
Our Radiation Oncology department has had an exciting year. The department has transitioned to a new electronic medical record (EMR) system and installed a new quality assurance program in the Treatment Planning department. In addition, On Board Imager and Rapid Arc software was successfully installed in October of 2012, allowing for continuous arc treatments and a subsequent reduction in the amount of time a patient spends on the table.
Staff and patient education continue to be a priority throughout the clinical departments of the Regional Cancer Center. Under the direction of our staff-lead Educational Committee and in close collaboration with physician leaders, we have developed and provided several relevant physician- and nursing-centered educational opportunities that we hope will have a positive effect on patient outcomes. All education programs provide free CEUs to licensed staff and are open to physicians and nurses throughout the health system, inpatient and outpatient alike.
Collaboration between many community organizations has helped the Regional Cancer Center live its mission of caring for our community. Throughout the year, 19 community outreach events, ranging from community walks to educational programs, were held at various locations throughout Rockford and the surrounding communities. Recognizing the significant impact that education plays in behavior modification and health promotion, community education is a priority to Regional Cancer Center leadership and staff. For example, strong relationships with the American Cancer Society, Rockford Public Schools and Leukemia and Lymphoma Society allow outreach to the populations at greatest need for education. Regional Cancer Center staff also volunteer for various community outreach events. Their commitment to patient care is evident in not only the clinic or office but in every event they attend. Annual participation in the Relay for Life and Making Strides for Breast Cancer Walk for the American Cancer Society, Light the Night for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Bow Tie March for Men for Healing Pathways Cancer Resource Center, demonstrate the level of commitment our staff have toward the community.
As SwedishAmerican transitions into a second century and healthcare moves toward an accountable care model, evidence-based care planning, quality outcomes, survival rates and financial performance will become the driving factors when a patient is choosing an oncology provider. It is for these reasons that the Regional Cancer Center has continually made quality and community advocacy key components of its mission. Our affiliation with UW Health, movement toward a number of quality certifications and a focus on patient-centered care are evidence to this fact.
Beginning in October of 2013, a new era of excellence in oncology care will begin in the northern Illinois region with the opening of our new SwedishAmerican Regional Cancer Center. We are very proud and honored to begin this next chapter of providing the very best cancer care to our community.