Cancer patients in the Dayton area may have many choices for facilities where they could obtain treatment, but of all cancer treatment facilities in the entire state of Ohio, only one is APEx®-accredited for the highest safety and quality of care – Dayton Physicians Network.
The abbreviation APEx® stands for Accreditation Program for Excellence, which is administered by the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO). Founded in 1958, the organization provides members with continuing medical education, health policy analysis, patient resources and advocacy.
In order to receive the APEx® accreditation, cancer treatment facilities must meet 16 standards of care, ranging from patient evaluation, care coordination and follow-up, to performance measurement and outcomes reporting. Dayton Physicians Network chose to obtain the accreditation as a way to ensure not only that care standards are met but are exceeded in ways far beyond those required by regulation.
This is not a government-mandated or otherwise required certification program. DPN’s goal in maintaining APEx® accreditation is to express to patients what steps we have taken through this intense program to demonstrate our commitment to quality care.
Requirements for this level of accreditation go beyond most and cover those needed for certification by the American Board of Radiology, the Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC). It is a rigorous process that begins with a look in the mirror.
It all starts with a comprehensive self-assessment, giving the facility the opportunity to review their current status and begin to make changes to meet requirements before a site visit takes place.
“We sought this accreditation on our own,” said Katie Denton RN, BSN, MHA, Operations Manager at the Miami Valley South location. “We wanted to ensure for ourselves that we are doing what we say we are – giving the highest-quality, safest, most effective care possible. Not only was it for us, but we chose it to make sure we’re doing what we’re telling you we are doing.”
“It shows that we take ownership for what we do and proves, objectively, that not only do we follow all of the required guidelines, but that our practices and procedures have been verified by an outside party,” she continued.
The advantage here is that DPN is confident in what we do and that we follow the highest level of care. This leads to one of the most important factors of success: patient satisfaction. Patient-centered care is one of the pillars that drive the APEx®. One of the standards is making sure that patients are satisfied and leave feeling confident that they have been well cared-for.
You might think that the APEx® accreditation is just another acronym printed on a framed piece of paper, hanging in the office. But it’s much more. Patients care about this certification because it speaks to the level to which DPN goes in order to secure the best treatment possible and in the right environment. And it’s not just because of the accreditation, but how patients respond to such completely patient-focused care.
Denton said some of the most gratifying feedback her staff gets is when a patient says, “When I started this process, I was really scared and didn’t think I could go every day for radiation treatment. But your team, physicians, and everyone I’ve come in contact with are so wonderful – they talked me through it and made me feel at ease. If I had to go through this, I’m glad I came here.”
In addition to quality assurance, the equipment review of APEx® gives patients peace of mind that our technology meets or exceeds clinical standards. The accrediting body looks at everything involved in patent care, from the software used to plan the treatment to the equipment used to deliver it. Another major component of the program is peer review. The physicians come together to discuss cases and help each other to ensure the best possible treatment, as a team effort.
Every patient is different, and treatment is designed around them. Being the only APEx®-accredited facility in the state is reassuring to patients, and it ensures that we are creating and implementing the most effective treatment possible. The program also provides continuing education opportunities for staff, helping them stay on the cutting edge of treatments, procedures, and operational standards. All Dayton Physician Network treatment centers are APEx®-accredited, including Greenville, Troy, Englewood, Centerville, Kettering, and Middletown.
If you have questions about DPN’s accreditation or for guidance in any aspect of your cancer care, call (937-293-1622.