Improving Quality and Patient Care
At Sentara Healthcare, the practice of evidence-based medicine is organically part of our culture. Throughout the Sentara Cancer Network, proof of performance is benchmarked, internally and nationally. The collection of data helps lead to better outcomes for important procedures such as breast cancer surgery. With a change in practice, positive margins are being eliminated and re-excision rates are declining. Across the network, a focus on tracking outcomes and sharing best practices offers benchmarking and collective foresight from experts in the field.
Beyond collecting the data for our own benchmarks, we also take on the complex task of contributing to national data collection. This is an accomplishment in itself, because only a fraction of hospitals participate. We remain committed to contributing to national efforts to fight cancer in this way. We base our cancer care on national evidence. We share what we learn. And as a result, we learn, too.
Cancer Registry Department
We work with national and state agencies to provide local data for generating national cancer statistics and looking at data trends. The Cancer Registry Department plays an important role in maintaining cancer data and shares it with the National Cancer Institute, the Virginia Department of Health, and the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries. The department monitors trends in incidence and mortality rate as well as evaluates prevention and control measures.
Our physicians take a collaborative approach in all of the care they provide. Regularly scheduled cancer conferences bring together multidisciplinary teams to focus on the best treatment plan for the patient.
A group of trained professionals from across the region reviews the patient’s case, looking critically at the diagnostic test results and the patient’s medical history. Together they assess the treatment options, and rely on their collective experience to determine the best course of treatment. Customized and multi-faceted solutions may be found more quickly.
In many cases, they meet formally in weekly cancer conferences—much more often than they are required to do by the Commission on Cancer. Our providers continually learn from past patients and each other—and immediately put their new knowledge to work for new patients.