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Clinical Services at Rush Chair's Report: 2011 Rush University Cancer Center Annual Report

I am proud to present the 2011 Rush University Cancer Center Annual Report. This was an incredibly fruitful year for Rush and the Rush University Cancer Center, a year in which the results of hard work and collaboration resonated throughout the Rush campus and beyond. In this year’s report, we recognize not only outcomes but the work and people behind them. From the completion of our new state-of-the-art hospital building (p. 8) to survival rates that exceeded expectations to initiatives designed to improve patient well-being, this year’s accomplishments have been inspiring to those who work and receive care at Rush.

For the first time in our annual report, we present snapshots of our cancer center and its programs, which reflect the breadth of our
services and research programs, as well as the expertise of our staff. And in our cancer registry report (p. 23), we show that 3,136 cases were abstracted in 2010, 2,683 of which were analytic. This marks an increase from the previous year and mirrors the scope and volumes of the diseases we treat.

Below are some highlights of the past year:

Commission on Cancer accreditation: The American College of Surgeons’ Commission on Cancer awarded Rush a three-year accreditation with commendation in 2011 (and the Outstanding Achievement award in early 2012). This is the highest award possible from the commission, and we’re proud to have received this honor three consecutive times. Accreditation by the commission is one of the most important measures of quality for patients with cancer. The institutions involved in the accreditation program represent a broad-based network of comprehensive cancer programs that offer the entire spectrum of cancer control activities, from prevention to rehabilitation and long-term follow-up.

New technology: Rush’s new hospital, the Tower, is home to the perioperative and interventional platform (see p. 9), which brings together interventional and perioperative procedures, including outpatient diagnostic and therapeutic services. With this state-of-the-art facility, Rush has tripled the number of CT platforms available and greatly expanded its imaging capabilities, with the ability to obtain higher quality examinations at lower radiation doses. Rush now has multispectral CT imaging, which presents opportunities to obtain a new set of investigational metrics such as virtual noncontrast imaging, iodine mapping and organ flow quantification. And an audiovisual system allows surgeons to confer in real time with pathologists during cancer surgeries. Rush is also now home to TrueBeam STx radiosurgical technology, a platform for image-guided radiotherapy and radiosurgery (see pages 11 and 17).

Quality initiatives: To address quality issues related to cancer care, Rush formed an interdisciplinary committee, comprising representatives from hematology, stem cell transplant, medical oncology, nursing and the quality improvement department. Based on the group’s recommendations, a team was formed on cancer care units to address falls. To increase awareness of falls and fall prevention strategies, the team tracked and discussed each fall incidence. As a result, the number of falls decreased by more than 50 percent in these patient care units in 2011. The committee also worked to support the skin care team in its endeavors to decrease pressure ulcers by increasing awareness of early identification and prevention of pressure ulcers.

Cancer Survivors’ Day: In September, more than 250 cancer survivors and their friends and families attended this annual Rush event, the focus of which was caring for the whole person: body, mind and spirit.

I am grateful to our partners outside of Rush (some of whom are listed on p. 3) as well as to everyone at Rush for helping to deliver quality care to our patients. This includes medical and nursing staff, cancer committee and cancer center members, our partners in the Chicago community and the cancer registry staff. Whether they are providing care at the bedside, developing innovations in the laboratory, forming strategic relationships in the board room or crunching numbers at a computer, these individuals make a difference to our patients. And without them the most important patient outcomes — living longer and feeling better — would be impossible.

Michael Liptay, MD
The Mary Denny Weaver Professor of Cancer
Chief, Division of Thoracic Surgery
Chair, Cancer Committee at Rush

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