Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Recognizes Highest Commitment to Quality Standards

Oct 31, 2017

This is the third in a five-part series of articles that will focus on ASCO’s various quality care offerings for practices and the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative (QOPI®) in particular. Read part 1 and part 2.

The QOPI® Certification ProgramTM offers specialty certification to outpatient oncology practices in the United States that demonstrate a commitment to quality. This program, launched in January 2010, provides a 3-year certification recognizing high-quality care for outpatient hematology-oncology practices within the United States and is currently piloting an international program. Practices receive QOPI Certification based on their full compliance with the QOPICertification Standards as assessed during an on-site survey. The standards serve as a benchmark for quality in the safe ordering, preparation, administration and documentation of chemotherapy.

Practices participating in QOPI are eligible to apply for the QOPI Certification Program. To do so, a practice must:

  • Participate in a QOPI collection round and abstract data from the requisite number of charts based on practice size
  • Choose the QOPI Certification Pathway, a select set of 25 measures pulled from the core, symptom/toxicity management, end of life, breast, lung, and colorectal modules, which are evaluated and scored to determine eligibility to apply
  • Achieve an Overall Quality Score of 75%, the passing threshold.

Once the threshold is met and the practice is eligible to apply, the separate QOPI Certification process begins with the application and payment.

Those practices that earn the QOPI Certification designation have scored well on key QOPI quality measures and have met chemotherapy safety standards established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society in areas of treatment that include:

  • Creating a safe environment—staffing, competencies, and general policy
  • Treatment planning, patient consent, and education
  • Ordering, preparing, dispensing, and administering chemotherapy
  • Monitoring after chemotherapy is administered, including adherence, toxicity, and complications

Evidence-based standards serve as the foundation for best practice and help ensure the culture of safety and quality that is a necessity in an oncology practice. Practices are assessed through an on-site survey conducted by an experienced oncology professional. The process of preparing for and completing the site survey promotes internal discussion among practice members regarding opportunities for practice improvement, team collaboration, and implementation of improved systems.

Following an on-site survey, the surveyor will write a report detailing a practice’s compliance with the certification standards, including any requirements for additional documentation. This report is reviewed by QOPI Certification Program staff and then sent to a QOPI committee member for final review and approval. In 4 to 6 weeks, the practice receives a report of the survey results and has 10 business days to submit a standards compliance plan to address any deficiencies found during the survey. When all requirements are met and the practice is fully compliant with the certification standards, QOPI Certification is awarded. Learn more about the on-site survey process.

Currently, there are nearly 300 U.S. practices with active QOPI Certification. In addition, an international certification program is being piloted. If you are interested in attaining certification outside the U.S., please take this survey so we can learn more about your practice and goals for certification.

One of the benefits of QOPI Certification is the opportunity to critically evaluate internal processes that are indicative of a high-performing oncology team, identify where further improvements can be made, and implement a plan to put those improvements in place.

In addition, beginning with certifications received this year, practice members can now document their efforts in a new ASCO University® course and be awarded:

  • 20 American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Practice Assessment points
  • 20 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™
  • 20 ANCC Continuing Education Units

Certificates of Participation are available by request for all other non-physician members, which may be able to be applied toward re-licensure (dependent on licensing organization). For example, the American Association of Physician Assistants accepts certificate of participation for educational activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits.

Another benefit to achieving certification is that The Doctors Company, the nation's largest physician-owned medical malpractice insurer, offers a premium discount of up to 10% to physicians whose practices have achieved QOPI Certification. For more information, visit The Doctors Company or find more information on ASCO in Action.

Learn more about the QOPI Certification Program.

In the next article, we discuss the ways in which ASCO’s QOPI and QOPI Certification Program have expanded internationally, as well as other global initiatives the Society is working on to improve the quality of care for patients with cancer around the world.

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