06/14/17 — Southeastern Medical Oncology Center receives national certification

View Archive

Southeastern Medical Oncology Center receives national certification

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on June 14, 2017 7:00 AM

Full Size


Dr. James Atkins, oncology doctor, displays the certification that Southeastern Medical Oncology Center recently received.

The staff at Southeastern Medical Oncology Center has received a national certification for what they've been doing all along -- providing quality service to cancer patients.

The Quality Oncology Practice Initiative certification was set up by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which is a U.S.-based organization that also has a membership of international doctors. The certification is for a three-year period.

"ASCO set up the quality initiative program to make sure that people get quality oncology care instead of just getting whatever the doctor wanted to treat them with," said SMOC medical oncologist Dr. James Atkins. "It also was set up to make sure that what was considered the standard of treatment was continues and that people weren't just coming up with treatment du jour for a particular cancer."

To receive the QOPI certification took SMOC about two or three years, looking at patient charts and gathering information to submit for approval. Once SMOC met the criteria, an auditor went to SMOC to look at the charts to make sure everything was correct.

In Eastern North Carolina, SMOC is one of just five practices that is QOPI certified.

"The other folks are probably also doing good quality care, but they have not gone through the work that's necessary to prove that what they're doing is really state of the art," Atkins said.

He said that SMOC uses the National Comprehensive Cancer Network guidelines, which are for every single kind of cancer there is.

"They have recommendations as to what kind of treatment, how often to do x-rays, what labs are done, etc., to try to standardize things," Atkins said. "Otherwise, if you come across a cancer you don't see very often, you may not give the best care. This allows you to be able to stay current with everything that's going on. The fields in general in oncology with all the different cancers are changing very quickly."

Atkins said the QOPI certification won't change the way patients are treated at SMOC. In fact, patients won't even see a difference.

"It's just nice to have a national organization recognize that what you're doing is cutting edge," he said. "It's a recognition from the national level that what we're doing here in Goldsboro is on the cutting edge. It's a nice feeling."