The University of Florida Breast Center at Shands at UF medical center received accreditation as a National Center of Excellence in Breast Cancer this month by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. The three-year designation was the result of a rigorous, 18-month evaluation process and site visit.
“Because the accreditation process is so comprehensive, it demands that we, as a multidisciplinary group of patient care providers, develop processes and procedures that are consistent with the best practices currently existing in breast care,” said Stephen Grobmyer, M.D., an associate professor of surgery in the College of Medicine and director of the UF Breast Center. “That institutional and personal commitment to best practices in every facet of patient care leads to our patients receiving the highest standard of multidisciplinary care available anywhere in the world.”
With UF’s accreditation, only six Florida breast centers are designated as Centers of Excellence. To become accredited, Centers of Excellence must demonstrate compliance with 27 standards leading to excellence in treating women diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease.
According to the NAPBC — a consortium of professional organizations, like the American Cancer Society, dedicated to the improvement of quality of care and monitoring of outcomes of patients with diseases of the breast — these include proficiency in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement. The UF Breast Center passed all 27 compliance standards.
“Achieving Center of Excellence accreditation is a great deal of work and indicates huge dedication to caring,” said Paul Okunieff, M.D., chair of the UF department of radiation oncology and director of the UF Shands Cancer Center. “Its components of excellence include not only skilled doctors but also the institution’s commitment to treating breast diseases in a genuine way — an ongoing institutional investment of money, space and resources.”
As a Center of Excellence, the UF Breast Center’s multidisciplinary approach to patient care and ongoing clinical investigations to improve and enhance patient outcomes are key.
Members of the multidisciplinary team, which includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, nutritionists, physical therapists and the nurse assigned as the patient navigator, meet frequently to discuss the treatment plan and progress of every patient.
The benefit to patients of this level of multidisciplinary care is that a group of smart people from diverse medical backgrounds is focused on the complexities of each patient’s unique situation to discover innovative treatments tailored to the individual.
“This Center of Excellence designation is important to both the institution and to patients,” said Grobmyer, who is a member of the UF Shands Cancer Center. “Continual examination of our practices and processes to assure they are transparent and consistent with the best practices currently existing in breast care provides patients with the assurance they will receive the highest standard of multidisciplinary care at our center. For our team, it symbolizes our individual and organizational commitments to meeting our highest potential in the delivery of that care.”