Quality and Outcomes
The ultimate measure of a hospital's cancer care quality is reflected in its patient outcomes, and the Maine Medical Center Cancer Institute's outcomes are superior when compared with national benchmarks. At MMCCI we believe that optimal patient outcomes are achieved through our multidisciplinary approach to diagnosis, staging and treatment. There is also a wealth of evidence linking higher volume to better patient outcomes. MMCCI cares for more patients diagnosed with cancer, including some of the most difficult cases in the state, than any other hospital in Maine.
The success of our programs is also measured by patient satisfaction. Patient feedback is solicited regularly to ensure that we are providing high quality care, and to provide us with opportunities for quality improvement.
Coordinated, Multidisciplinary Care Approach
One of the important characteristics of the MMC Cancer Institute is the diagnosis and treatment of cancer through an active program of multidisciplinary team conferences. During these conferences, a team of specialists meets on a regular basis to review and discuss individual cases. The teams include physician specialists from medical oncology, surgery, radiation therapy, radiology, and pathology, as well as patient navigators, research nurses, dietitians, social workers, palliative care specialists, and other members of the care team. A team approach to cancer care can reduce mortality and improve patients' quality of life through timely diagnosis, staging, work-up and treatment. In 2011, a total of 216 conferences were held, at which 1656 cases were reviewed.
The American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has set a standard that all cancer cases must be staged, and staged accurately. In order to meet this standard, ACoS-accredited hospitals must review a minimum of 10% of cancer cases for staging accuracy. Cancer staging uses a system of numbers and letters to describe how much cancer has spread. This information helps physicians make treatment plans for individual patients. As an example of MMC's performance in this area, during 2011, 438 patients with breast cancer were reviewed in multidisciplinary conferences, with 100% of cases staged accurately.
At our Cancer Institute, multidisciplinary specialists work as an integrated team to ensure continuity of care, coordination, and the involvement of the patient and family in the treatment and care-planning process. We work hard to maintain communication among our team members, assuring the highest quality of care.