Article Abstract

The United States’ national accreditation program for breast centers: a model for excellence in breast disease evaluation and management

Authors: David P. Winchester


Background: The evaluation and management of patients with breast disease have historically been disorganized and fragmented, leading to inefficiencies in patient flow and increased anxiety. The NAPBC was founded to address this deficiency and optimize the system.
Methods: Evidence-based breast center standards were developed by a multinational, multidisciplinary Board and revised after pilot surveys. The Board defined 17 essential components in the continuum of care, available on site or referred. Physician surveyors were trained to conduct triennial site visits to assure compliance with standards. Correction of deficiencies is required within 12 months.
Results: Since the first accreditation award in late 2008, the NAPBC has grown rapidly. By the end of 2015, there will be 650 breast centers accredited by the NAPBC, with an additional 50 programs being scheduled for survey. Re-survey for continued accreditation occurs every 3 years. There has been minimal attrition. Survey results from our accredited centers indicate a high level of patient and facility satisfaction. Although only one foreign breast center has been NAPBC-accredited, and two scheduled for survey, the interest level is high. Thirty-two breast centers from 17 countries have requested information.
Conclusions: The NAPBC provides an ideal model for facilities to render state of the art evaluation and treatment throughout the continuum of care for patients with breast disease. Accredited centers are afforded internal and external assessment of their performance based on recognized standards that demonstrate a commitment to quality care. The centers attain national recognition and public promotion. Patients, facilities and their providers are the ultimate beneficiaries.