NCQA Launches Oncology Medical Home Recognition Program


The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) has launched a new Oncology Medical Home Recognition program, which provides a framework for using clinical pathways and quality improvement measures in the patient-centered medical home (PCMH).


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The Oncology Medical Home derives from NCQA’s Patient-Centered Specialty Practice standards, which combine team-based care, care coordination, care management, population health, and oncology-specific elements to improve the care of patients with cancer. Oncology Medical Home Recognition, which evolved from these standards, is designed to implement team-based care by identifying specialists who use the PCMH model to improve health care delivery.

"We could not be more proud to launch this new recognition for Oncology Medical Homes," said Margaret E O'Kane, MHA, president, NCQA, in a press release (May 1, 2017). "We collaborated with oncologists to develop this recognition that demonstrates support for patients in all aspects of care – from treatment and managing symptoms to ancillary services, and even financial counseling – as these are keys to providing the best, comprehensive care possible."

The PCSP standards assess tracking and coordination referrals, providing access and communication, identifying and coordinating patient populations, planning and managing care, tracking and coordinating care, and measuring and improving performance. The additional oncology-specific elements include quality improvement, oncology practice responsibilities, comprehensive health assessment, evidenced-based clinical pathways, and coordinating patient-centered support during treatment.

One NCQA Patient-Centered Specialty Practice Recognized program has already reported benefits for all stakeholders after adoption of the framework. Carolina Blood and Cancer Care assert that their patients receive fully patient-centered care and a better relationship with physicians, their physicians experience the benefits of standardization of the science of medicine and data compilation, and their payers see a reduction in cancer spending and avoidable complications. – Zachary Bessette