ASCO’s Quality Training Program Shifts to a Regional Setting; Applications Now Open for 2017

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On October 17, applications opened for ASCO’s 2017 Quality Training Program. For 2017, the program, which began 3 years ago, is shifting its model of in-person sessions at ASCO headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, to regional settings. The program is designed to train oncology health-care providers to investigate and implement data-driven quality improvement and manage clinical and administrative processes and outcomes.

The comprehensive 6-month program brings oncology teams together to create and facilitate an improvement project. Each team selects a project that will solve a problem in its own clinical setting, so the learning experience is simultaneously fostering a solution or best practice.

The program includes 5 days of in-person learning across three sessions, as well as hands-on learning at the participants’ practices. To ensure a well-rounded experience, sessions include seminars, case examples, and small group exercises. This year, for the first time, sessions will be held regionally, with this year’s locations being Dallas, Texas and Portland, Oregon. The locations will change each year, with a plan to add international locations in the future.

Two to four members of each team, including the team leader, must attend three sessions, with two dates to choose from for each session:

  • Session 1 (2 days): April 5–6 or April 19–20, 2017
  • Session 2 (2 days): June 28–29 or July 19–20, 2017
  • Session 3 (1 day): October 4 or ­October 18, 2017.

The sessions are guided by the program’s faculty and coaches, who are all renowned practitioners in oncology and quality improvement. Physicians and other professionals (nurses, pharmacists) who attend are eligible to receive continuing medical education (CME) credits. In addition, the program can help teams adjust for the changing reimbursement environment based on quality.

For the onsite portion at each participating practice, teams should anticipate that a successful project will require at least 2 hours, but often more, per week. Projects also will require team meetings and monthly virtual sessions with coaches.

The program is focused around a five-step framework for quality ­improvement:

  • Define—Define the problem
  • Measure—Map the process for ­improvement
  • Analyze—Identify the causes of the problem
  • Improve—Implement the solution
  • Control—Sustain the gain.

The 2015 Quality Training Program led to many successes at the practices where the participants worked. Here are two examples, each from a different practice1:

  • Decreased the number of oncology patients using the emergency room by 60%
  • Improved the percentage of symptom management calls being addressed within 2 hours from 48% to 73%.

Practices must apply to participate in the Quality Training Program, and those selected must demonstrate a commitment of time and resources and undergo an extensive and rigorous review process by the program’s selection committee.

For details on application requirements, visit

To submit an online application, visit:

For more information about the Quality Training Program, visit or email ■



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