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Ann Oncol. 2010 Feb;21(2):362-9. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp318. Epub 2009 Aug 4.

European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Program for the integration of oncology and Palliative Care: a 5-year review of the Designated Centers' incentive program.

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Department of Oncology, Cancer Pain and Palliative Medicine, Shaare Zedek Medical Center, Jerusalem.



In 1999, the National Representatives of European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) created a Palliative Care Working Group to improve the delivery of supportive and palliative care (S + PC) by oncologists, oncology departments and cancer centers. They have addressed this task through initiatives in policy, education, research and incentives. As an incentive program for oncology departments and centers, ESMO developed a program of Designated Centers (DCs) for programs meeting predetermined targets of service development and delivery of a high level of S + PC.


The history, accreditation criteria and implementation of the DC incentive program is described.


Since 2004, 75 centers have applied for designation and 48 have been accredited including 34 comprehensive cancer centers (CCCs) in general hospitals and seven freestanding CCCs. Perceived benefits accrued from the accreditation included the following: improved status and role identification of the center, positive impact on daily work, positive impact on business activity and positive impact on funding for projects.


The accreditation of DCs has been a central to the ESMO initiative to improve the palliative care provided by oncologists and oncology centers. It is likely that many other oncology departments and cancer centers already meet the criteria and ESMO strongly encourages them to apply for accreditation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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