UF Health Breast Center recognized for excellence in patient care

Dr. Christiana Shaw speaks with breast cancer patient Linda Gail McCollum in the UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. Photo by Maria Farias.The University of Florida Health Breast Center received reaccreditation this month from the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers. The three-year reaccreditation is a continuation of accreditation earned in 2011 after a rigorous, 18-month program review and site visit.

The UF Health Breast Center is the only accredited breast center in North Central Florida.

“The benefit to patients of being treated by a team of experts in a nationally accredited breast center is they know they’ll receive the highest quality care available anywhere, including minimally invasive breast biopsies, breast conservation and the most advanced diagnostic mammography available,” said Christiana Shaw, M.D., a UF assistant professor of surgery and program leader for the UF Health Breast Center. “Patients can also feel confident that an accredited breast program will provide them with the best treatment options personalized to their needs, which avoids unnecessary, invasive treatments and over-treatment.”

To become accredited and maintain accreditation, breast centers must demonstrate compliance with 24 standards leading to excellence in treating women diagnosed with the full spectrum of breast disease. According to the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers — a consortium of professional organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, dedicated to the improvement of quality of care and monitoring of outcomes of patients with diseases of the breast — these include proficiencies in the areas of center leadership, clinical management, research, community outreach, professional education and quality improvement.

The UF Health Breast Center passed all 24 compliance standards and received commendations for best practices for quality initiatives and enrollment of patients to clinical trials.

“A big part of the program review that takes place during the accreditation process is that we, as a team, invest the time to examine program strengths and areas that can be improved,” Shaw said. “One area in which we are proud to have far exceeded the national standard is patient enrollment in clinical trials, because the newest, most advanced treatments are frequently only available on clinical trial, and we want to assure our patients have access to the best treatments to be found anywhere.”

A key element of its dedication to improving patient outcomes is the UF Health Breast Center’s commitment to a multidisciplinary approach to patient care and ongoing clinical investigations. Members of the multidisciplinary team, which includes surgeons, radiation oncologists, medical oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, nutritionists, physical therapists and the nurse assigned as the patient’s navigator, meet during a weekly tumor board to discuss the treatment plan and progress of every patient. Every member of this treatment team contributed to the success of the center’s reaccreditation.

“Achieving and maintaining national accreditation is a tremendous investment of effort and demonstrates the profound dedication of the entire breast team to patient care,” said Paul Okunieff, M.D., chair of the UF department of radiation oncology and director of the UF Health Cancer Center. “It’s an expression of the deep commitment our doctors and institution have to treating breast diseases in a genuine way that always places the best interests of the patient at the forefront of the treatment plan.”

About the Author

Lindy Brounley's picture

Lindy Brounley

Communications Director, UF Health Cancer Center

Lindy Brounley is a marketing and communications professional with more than 25 years of academic and corporate communications experience, specializing in strategic marketing and communications. She serves as communications director...Read More