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Talking Turkey on Cancer Care

By Dr. Hişam Alahdab

Anadolu Medical Center—an acute-care hospital on the outskirts of Istanbul—recently became the first health care institution in Turkey and the region to earn accreditation from the Organization of European Cancer Institutes (OECI) as a clinical cancer center.

The OECI is the only organization recognized in Europe for the high standards of patient safety and quality it specifies for accreditation. In fact, it requires health systems’ oncology programs to meet more than 800 standards that reflect a commitment to patient-centeredness, prevention and early diagnosis, cancer treatment and care, teaching and continuing education, and research and innovation.

Anadolu—where I’m the chief quality and safety officer—has concentrated on oncology services since our opening in 2005, but our affiliation with Johns Hopkins has been indispensable in reaching this level of quality. We have benefitted from Johns Hopkins’ world-renowned expertise in quality and safety and in oncology. Our colleagues there have supported us with interactive teleconferences, assessment visits and intense educational activities.

Our main purpose is to improve our services continuously to provide the best clinical care possible. As we establish a world-class oncology center of excellence, we created Comprehensive Unit-based Safety Program teams to enhance chemotherapy medication safety.

We are working across care teams to enhance timely diagnosis, treatment and follow-up, and we created a multidisciplinary tumor board that now outlines the best treatment plans for more than 90 percent of our newly diagnosed cancer patients.

These are just some of Anadolu’s efforts to improve all aspects of our clinical oncology care. Perhaps the most important feature of our services, however, is our focus on patients. We care for a broad range of patients who come to us from across the country and across the region. We have learned a lot about overcoming cultural and language barriers and meeting the unique needs of our patients and their families.

We also invite our patients to be active participants in their education and share decision-making. We believe in empowering our patients and their families to achieve the highest level of quality and safety. Our patient-centered approach enables us to work together as one team to ensure our patients’ physical, psychological and social wellbeing.

The OECI accreditation is a true testament to Anadolu’s hardworking and collaborative care teams, our clear strategic vision, and the value of having Johns Hopkins alongside us on our journey to make significant, sustained progress in diagnosing, treating and preventing cancer.

Dr. Hişam Alahdab joined Anadolu Medical Center in Kocaeli, Turkey, as a staff pulmonologist in 2006. He is also the chief quality and safety officer and chairs the patient safety committee and the quality council at Anadolu. He holds a certificate for patient safety from Johns Hopkins’ Armstrong Institute for Patient Safety and Quality and a certificate for leadership in quality and safety from The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School.


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