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J Oncol Pract. 2013 Mar;9(2):e62-70. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2012.000636.

What currently defines a breast center? Initial data from the national accreditation program for breast centers.

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Department of Therapeutic Radiology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.



The definition of a "breast center" varies significantly, ranging from hospital-based or free-standing comprehensive programs to private subspecialty practices with patient resources in close proximity. This study analyzes the 2-year data of the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) to assess the demographics of the types of programs seeking breast center (BC) accreditation. The results of a postaccreditation survey are also analyzed.


All data (ie, Survey Application Record, on-site surveyors' reports, postaccreditation survey) for programs applying for accreditation between October 31, 2008, and October 31, 2010, were entered into a database at the American College of Surgeons headquarters. Analysis was conducted with SPSS v.19 and Microsoft Excel 2007.


During the initial 2-year period, 238 centers were surveyed across 41 states. With regard to the 27 standards and 17 BC components, 68% of centers had no deficiencies, 28% had ≤ 10% deficiencies, 3% had deficiencies in 11% to 29% of standards, and 2% had ≥ 30% deficiencies. The most common standards with noncompliance were accreditation for ultrasound-guided biopsy (standard 11), stereotactic biopsy (standard 10), and accrual onto clinical trials (standard 3.2). The only BC component found to be absent was survivorship program (1%). Desciptive categories were as follows: 81.5% were hospital-based centers, 13.5% were free-standing facilities, 2.5% were group practices, and 3% were "other." There were no significant associations between descriptive category and full accreditation versus contingency or failure, or deficiencies in any one standard (all Ps > .05). On the basis of responses to the postaccreditation survey, 76% admitted making significant changes before the survey process.


This initial analysis of the NAPBC 2-year data suggests that a wide variety of BC models adequately provide a high level of care and services for patients across the nation.

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