Pioneering quality assessment in European cancer centers: a data analysis of the organization for European cancer institutes accreditation and designation program

J Oncol Pract. 2014 Sep;10(5):e342-9. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2013.001331. Epub 2014 Aug 12.


Purpose: In order to improve the quality of care in Cancer Centers (CC) and designate Comprehensive Cancer Centers (CCCs), the Organization for European Cancer Institutes (OECI) launched an Accreditation and Designation (A&D) program. The program facilitates the collection of defined data and the assessment of cancer center quality. This study analyzes the results of the first 10 European centers that entered the program.

Methods: The assessment included 927 items divided across qualitative and quantitative questionnaires. Data collected during self-assessment and peer-review from the 10 first participating centers were combined in a database for comparative analysis using simple statistics. Quantitative and qualitative results were validated by auditors during the peer review visits.

Results: Volumes of various functions and activities dedicated to care, research, and education varied widely among centers. There were no significant differences in resources for radiology, radiotherapy, pathologic diagnostic, and surgery. Differences were observed in the use of clinical pathways but not for the practices of holding multidisciplinary team meetings and conforming to guidelines. Regarding human resources, main differences were in the composition and number of supportive care and research staff. All 10 centers applied as CCCs; five obtained the label, and five were designated as CCs.

Conclusion: The OECI A&D program allows comparisons between centers with regard to management, research, care, education, and designation as CCs or CCCs. Through the peer review system, recommendations for improvements are given. Assessing the added value of the program, as well as research and patient treatment outcomes, is the next step.

MeSH terms

  • Accreditation
  • Cancer Care Facilities / organization & administration
  • Cancer Care Facilities / standards*
  • Critical Pathways
  • Europe
  • Medical Oncology / education
  • Medical Oncology / organization & administration
  • Medical Oncology / standards*
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care*
  • Quality of Health Care
  • Surveys and Questionnaires