News Releases

Hallmark Health Cancer Program Earns National Accreditation from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons

 

The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year Accreditation to the cancer program at Hallmark Health System. To earn voluntary CoC accreditation, a cancer program must meet 34 CoC quality care standards, be evaluated every three years through a survey process, and maintain levels of excellence in the delivery of comprehensive patient-centered care.

Because it is a CoC-accredited cancer center, Hallmark Health takes a multidisciplinary approach to treating cancer as a complex group of diseases that requires consultation among surgeons, medical and radiation oncologists, diagnostic radiologists, pathologists, and other cancer specialists. This multidisciplinary partnership results in improved patient care.

“We are pleased and honored to have been acknowledged by the Commission on Cancer for our comprehensive cancer services,” said Steven Sbardella, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer at Hallmark Health. “CoC accreditation is the result of our commitment to providing high-quality, technologically-advanced compassionate care to our patients.”

The CoC Accreditation Program provides the framework for Hallmark Health to improve its quality of patient care through various cancer-related programs that focus on the full spectrum of cancer care including prevention, early diagnosis, cancer staging, optimal treatment, rehabilitation, life-long followup for recurrent disease, and end-of-life care. When patients receive care at a CoC facility, they also have access to information on clinical trials and new treatments, genetic counseling, and patient centered services including psycho-social support, a patient navigation process, and a survivorship care plan that documents the care each patient receives and seeks to improve cancer survivors’ quality of life.

Like all CoC-accredited facilities, Hallmark Health maintains a cancer registry and contributes data to the National Cancer Data Base (NCDB), a joint program of the CoC and American Cancer Society (ACS). This nationwide oncology outcomes database is the largest clinical disease registry in the world. Data on all types of cancer are tracked and analyzed through the NCDB and used to explore trends in cancer care. CoC-accredited cancer centers, in turn, have access to information derived from this type of data analysis, which is used to create national, regional, and state benchmark reports. These reports help CoC facilities with their quality improvement efforts.

ACS estimates that more than 1.6 million cases of cancer will be diagnosed in 2013. There are currently more than 1,500 CoC-accredited cancer programs in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, representing 30 percent of all hospitals. CoC-accredited facilities diagnose and/or treat more than 70 percent of all newly diagnosed cancer patients. When cancer patients choose to seek care locally at a CoC-accredited cancer center, they are gaining access to comprehensive, state-of-the-art cancer care close to home. The CoC provides the public with information on the resources, services, and cancer treatment experience for each CoC-accredited cancer program through the CoC Hospital Locator at http://www.facs.org/cancerprogram/index.html.

Hallmark Health Facebook Page Earns Gold

Hallmark Health System recently received a Gold Lamplighter award at the 2015 New England Society for Healthcare Communications (NESHCo) spring conference.

Hallmark Health’s Facebook hashtag campaign, #EverydayAtHallmarkHealth, earned top prize in the Social Media Campaign category. #EverydayAtHallmarkHealth uses engaging photographs along with the stories of patients, employees and community members to highlight the many different aspects of caring that happen both within and outside of Hallmark Health’s physical walls.

Hallmark Health has an active social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

The awards were given at NESHCo’s 25th Annual Lamplighter Awards held this year in Boston, which honored 68 hospitals, health care facilities, and marketing and advertising agencies for excellence in marketing, public relations and communications.

The Lamplighters were established to showcase and honor health care communications excellence in the New England region. The 2015 competition included 328 entries from throughout the region. Entries were judged by the Georgia Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations and the Mississippi Society for Healthcare Marketing and Public Relations.

“Hospitals, health care facilities, and marketing and advertising agencies are submitting works of excellence to the Lamplighter Awards in record numbers,” said Jill McDonald Halsey, NESHCo president. “Being recognized by the New England Society of Healthcare Communications has taken on its own stature as an acknowledgement of excellence in marketing, communications, advertising and overall strategy. We are proud that our association has created this level of recognition for New England professionals who excel in their work.”

Hallmark Health System Named 2015 Most Wired

For the fourth consecutive year, Hallmark Health System has been recognized as a Most Wired hospital/system, through the 17th annual Health Care’s Most Wired Survey conducted by Hospitals & Health Networks.

Health data security and patient engagement are top priorities for the nation’s hospitals, according to results of the 17th annual HealthCare’s Most Wired™ survey, recently released by the American Hospital Association’s Health Forum and the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives (CHIME).

The 2015 Most Wired™ survey and benchmarking study, in partnership with CHIME and sponsored by VMware, is a leading industry barometer measuring information technology (IT) use and adoption among hospitals nationwide. The survey of more than 741 participants, representing more than 2,213 hospitals, examined how organizations are leveraging IT to improve performance for value-based healthcare in the areas of infrastructure, business and administrative management, quality and safety, and clinical integration.

“Hallmark Health is proud to be named to the Most Wired list for the fourth consecutive year,” said Carol Dresser, vice president of information services at Hallmark Health. “Our entire staff - from the information services team to clinicians to support staff - play important roles in using technology to support the efficient delivery of high-quality patient care.”

According to the survey, hospitals are taking more aggressive privacy and security measures to protect and safeguard patient data. Top growth areas in security among this year’s Most Wired organizations include privacy audit systems, provisioning systems, data loss prevention, single sign-on and identity management. The survey also found:

  • 96 percent of Most Wired organizations use intrusion detection systems compared to 85 percent of the all respondents. Privacy audit systems (94 percent) and security incident event management (93 percent) are also widely used.
  • 79 percent of Most Wired organizations conduct incident response exercises or tabletop tests annually, a high-level estimate of the current potential for success of a cybersecurity incident response plan, compared to 37 percent of all responding hospitals.
  • 83 percent of Most Wired organizations report that hospital board oversight of risk management and reduction includes cybersecurity risk.

As hospitals and health systems begin to transition away from volume-based care to more integrated, value-based care delivery, hospitals are utilizing IT to better facilitate information exchange across the care settings. This includes greater alignment between hospitals and physicians. According to the survey, the physician portal is a key factor in strengthening physician-hospital alignment:

  • In 84 percent of Most Wired organizations, physicians can view and exchange other facilities’ results in the portal compared with 63 percent of hospitals surveyed.
  • 76 percent use the portal and electronic health record (EHR) to exchange results with other EHRs and health information exchanges compared to 56 percent of those surveyed.
  • 81 percent can communicate with patients via email or alerts in contrast to 63 percent of all respondents

Driven beyond the requirements of Meaningful Use Stage 2, this year's Most Wired hospitals are utilizing the benefits of a patient portal to get patients actively involved in their health and healthcare. For instance, 89 percent of Most Wired organizations offer access to the patient portal through a mobile application. Other key findings include:

  • 67 percent of Most Wired hospitals offer the ability to incorporate patient-generated data.
  • 63 percent offer self-management tools for chronic conditions.
  • 60 percent offer patient-specific education in multiple languages.

“We commend and congratulate this year’s Most Wired hospitals and their CIOs for improving care delivery and outcomes in our nation’s hospitals through their creative and revolutionary uses of technology,” said CHIME CEO and President Russell P. Branzell, FCHIME CHCIO. “These Most Wired organizations represent excellence in IT leadership on the frontlines of healthcare transformation.”

“Congratulations to our nation’s Most Wired hospitals for harnessing the potential of information technology to improve quality care and patient safety and lower health care costs,” said Rich Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the AHA. “At the forefront of the field, these hospitals are setting the bar for protection of patient data through discerning security measures.”

HealthCare’s Most Wired™ Survey, conducted between Jan. 15 and March 15, 2015, is published annually by Health & Hospitals Network. Respondents completed 741 surveys, representing more than 39 percent of all U.S. hospitals. Last October, the AHA/Health Forum and CHIME announced the formation of a Most Wired partnership to enhance collaboration between the two organizations in the development and sustainability of the survey, and to collectively help meet the growing demand for useful data on health IT integration.

Detailed results of the survey and study can be found in the July issue of H&HN. For a full list of winners visit www.hhnmag.com.

The Buzz on Mosquitos

It’s mosquito season in eastern Massachusetts. The little nuisances are buzzing in our ears and causing those itchy bites. Most mosquito bites are more annoying than dangerous and can be treated with over-the-counter topical steroids, antihistamines and anti-inflammatories. But some bites can result in serious and sometimes deadly illnesses. Mosquitos can carry West Nile Virus or Eastern Equine Encephalitis. Transmission of these infections to humans is rare, but knowing what to watch for and how to protect yourself and your family is an important part of summer safety.

West Nile Virus
There were five human cases of West Nile Virus reported in Middlesex County last year, and in 2015, the first instance of an infected mosquito was recently detected in western Massachusetts.

Twenty percent of people who are infected with West Nile Virus will develop a fever with other symptoms such as headache, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea or rash. Most people with this type of West Nile Virus disease recover completely, but fatigue and weakness can last for weeks or months.

Less than one percent of infected people will develop a serious neurologic illness, such as encephalitis or meningitis, that presents with headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, coma, tremors, seizures or paralysis.

The Centers for Disease Control recommends reporting dead birds to local public health officials as this can be a sign that West Nile Virus is circulating in your area.

Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE)
People over age 50 and under age 15 seem to be at highest risk for developing severe disease when infected with EEE.

Signs and symptoms in encephalitic patients are fever, headache, irritability, restlessness, drowsiness, anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, turning blue, convulsions and coma.

If you suspect yourself or a loved one to be developing symptoms of West Nile Virus or EEE seek medical attention immediately.

Prevention is the key to keeping mosquitos away
Here are some tips to keep mosquitos away:

  • Wear mosquito repellent with DEET when outdoors.
  • Wear long sleeves and pants when weather permits.
  • Keep screen doors and window screens in good repair.
  • Mosquitos are most active from dusk to dawn, so limit your time outdoors once it gets dark.
  • Mosquitoes can lay eggs even in small amounts of standing water. Get rid of mosquito-breeding sites by emptying standing water from flower pots, buckets, barrels and tires. Change the water in pet dishes and replace the water in bird baths weekly. Drill holes in tire swings so water drains out. Empty children's wading pools and store on their side after use.

--Angelo Pucillo, PA-C, is the assistant chief physician assistant in the emergency department at Hallmark Health System.

This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.

Hallmark Health’s Stride for Healthy Communities Raises More Than $32K for Community Health Programs

 

More than 300 Hallmark Health System supporters recently participated in this year’s Stride for Healthy Communities, raising more than $32,000 for community health programs such as bariatric support programs, cancer care, cardiology and the North Suburban Child and Family Resource Network.

The annual fundraising walk around Wakefield’s Lake Quannapowitt added a 5K road race this year, bringing nearly 150 runners. Top winners included Mike Dimauro of Lawrence, with a winning time of 18:44, and Coreen Lowney of Dracut, who ran the course in 19:08.

“Stride for Healthy Communities has been growing for several years,” said Denise Flynn, chief development officer at Hallmark Health. “By adding the 5K race, we’ve introduced an exciting new element that brings the potential to keep growing.”

More than 40 Hallmark Health employees successfully finished the 5K race as part of a couch-to-5K® program aimed at helping employees start an exercise program and reach new fitness goals. The program was led by seven volunteer coaches, fellow employees with running experience, who conducted training sessions and mentored new runners.

Other participants included many patients, family members, staff and physicians, including a group from Hallmark Health’s Center for Weight Management and Weight Loss Surgery. The center emphasizes an active lifestyle to help keep weight off and several patients celebrated reaching a goal of finishing a 5K walk or run with family members and friends who have helped them through their journey.

Hallmark Health would like to thank the sponsors of the 2015 Stride for Healthy Communities:
Presenting Sponsors
Jennifer S. Wu, MD
The Hallmark Health System Medical Staff
Benefactor Sponsors
Eastern Bank
Whole Foods Market
Patron Sponsors
Action Ambulance Service, Inc.
Armstrong Ambulance Service, Inc.
Cataldo Ambulance Service, Inc.
New England Coffee
Supporting Sponsors
Hallmark Health Imaging
Melrose Cooperative Bank
Melrose Family YMCA & Saugus Family YMCA
Optum
Promotional Solutions, Inc.
Republic Building Contractors, Inc.
Right at Home Boston and North
WBZ News Radio 1030
Team Sponsors
Bariatric Fusion, Inc.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts
Epoch Senior Healthcare of Melrose
KTS, Inc. Cabling Solutions

News & Events

  The Commission on Cancer (CoC) of the American College of Surgeons (ACoS) has granted Three-Year...

 

Not to be missed...    

 
Saturday, September 12
 
Thursdays, Sept. 10, 17 and 24
 
Mondays, Sept. 14 - Oct. 19
 
 
social facebook   social twitter   social youtube