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The St. Joseph’s/Candler SC Cancer Specialists Earns Recognition For Providing The Highest Level Of Cancer Care

Jun 16, 2016

Only six other practices in South Carolina have earned a place on the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative

The St. Joseph’s/Candler SC Cancer Specialists in Hilton Head has successfully completed a three-year certification program for outpatient hematology-oncology practices that meet nationally recognized standards for quality cancer care.  

It is the only practice in the Low Country and Savannah region to earn the certification. The recognition comes from the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s Quality Oncology Practice Initiative Certification Program (QOPI).

“I am so proud of the work our team did to become QOPI certified,” said Dr. Gary Thomas, Medical Director of St. Joseph’s/Candler SC Cancer Specialists.  “This certification reflects the high level of care being given at our outpatient cancer center.  Being a QOPI-certified facility means that patients can be assured that they are receiving treatment at a facility that adheres to the highest standards for quality cancer care delivery and patient safety.” Thomas_Gary_new

In applying for the certification, St. Joseph’s/Candler SC Cancer Specialists participated in a voluntary comprehensive site assessment against clearly specified standards that are consistent with national guidelines and was successful in meeting the standards and objectives of QCP.

“By providing information, quality assessment measures, and resources, QOPI helps oncology practices evaluate the quality of the care they provide to patients and engage in ongoing quality improvement,” said ASCO President Julie M. Vose, MD, MBA, FASCO. “Achieving QOPI certification demonstrates a practice’s commitment to quality and safety excellence in the care they deliver to patients.”

What Is QOPI?

QOPI is a voluntary self-assessment and improvement program launched by ASCO in 2006 to help hematology-oncology and medical oncology practices assess the quality of the care they provide to patients. Through the QOPI program, practices abstract data from patients’ records up to twice per year and enter this information into a secure database. More than 900 oncology practices have registered for the QOPI program. 

The QOPI Certification Program was launched in January 2010, and more than 250 practices are currently certified. This certification for outpatient oncology practices is the first program of its kind for oncology in the United States. Oncologists can achieve certification by participating in a voluntary comprehensive site assessment against clearly specified standards that are consistent with national guidelines.  The QCP seal designates those practices that successfully met the standards and objectives of the QOPI Certification Program, which includes scoring above the threshold on the key QOPI quality measures and meeting chemotherapy safety standards established by ASCO and the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS).  

How The Practice Was Reviewed

QOPI analyzes individual practice data and compares these to more than 160 evidence-based and consensus quality measures. The information is then provided in reports to participating practices.  Individual practices are also able to compare their performance to data from other practices across the country. Based on this feedback, doctors and practices can identify areas for improvement.  

To become certified, practices have to submit to an evaluation of their entire practice and documentation standards. The QCP staff and steering group members then verify through on-site inspection that the evaluation and documents are correct and that the practices met core standards in areas of treatment, including:

  • treatment planning;
  • staff training and education;
  • chemotherapy orders and drug preparation;
  • patient consent and education;
  • safe chemotherapy administration;
  • monitoring and assessment of patient well-being.

QOPI and the QCP are projects dedicated to innovative quality improvement programs. For more information, please visit:

About SC Cancer Specialists

SC Cancer Specialists is the only medical oncology and infusion practice in Hilton Head and Bluffton. It joined St. Joseph’s/Candler in 2012 and became part of the full range of services provided by the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion and its relationship with the National Cancer Institute's Community Oncology Research Program.

St. Joseph’s/Candler is a 714-bed, national Magnet-designated facility for nursing excellence, with a focus on the latest technologies and research. Its comprehensive network includes centers of excellence for oncology, cardiovascular, neurosciences, women’s and children’s services, orthopedics and a variety of other disease specialties. SJ/C's Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion has been selected to be part of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the NCI Community Oncology Research Program. St. Joseph’s Hospital and Candler Hospital are the anchor hospitals for the not-for-profit health system serving 33 counties in southeast Georgia and the South Carolina Low Country. It is the largest and only faith-based institution in the region. For more information, visit

About ASCO

Founded in 1964, the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is the world’s leading professional organization representing physicians who care for people with cancer. With nearly 40,000 members, ASCO is committed to improving cancer care through scientific meetings, educational programs and peer-reviewed journals. ASCO is supported by its affiliate organization, the Conquer Cancer Foundation, which funds ground-breaking research and programs that make a tangible difference in the lives of people with cancer.  For ASCO information and resources, visit Patient-oriented cancer information is available at



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