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Originally posted May1, 1998

Ann Arbor, Mich. -- The University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center has reached the finalist level in the health category of the annual Quality Cup Competition sponsored by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) and USA TODAY.

This national award recognizes teams making significant contributions to the improvement of quality products or services by applying principles of quality management.

"We're very pleased to be one of only two finalists in the health category," says Marcy Bohm Waldinger, M.H.S.A., administrative director of the U-M Cancer Center. "This award is a reflection of our faculty and staff's dedication to providing our patients with the highest level of care in a welcoming and efficient environment."

In preparation for opening a new outpatient facility in May 1997, the Cancer Center team redesigned the structure and process for diagnosing and treating cancer outpatients. Changes included the creation of six physician-led teams organized by cancer type, improved convenience and comfort for patients receiving chemotherapy, creation of a clinic coordinator position to oversee scheduling, and customer service training for staff.

"Our primary goals were to be patient-focused, team-based and cost-effective," says Waldinger. "Nearly one year after opening the facility, we continue to receive glowing feedback from patients, families, physicians, clinic staff and others."

For the seventh annual Quality Cup competition, 176 nominations were received from Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, educational institutions, health care organizations and small businesses nationwide. Judging, including a visit to each semi-finalist, was conducted by USA TODAY editorial staff, RIT professors, consultants, academics and industry quality experts.

"The RIT/USA TODAY Quality Cup differs from other quality awards that recognize entire companies or divisions. This award honors the specific individuals who use personal initiative to improve quality in the workplace," said Tom Curley, president and publisher of USA TODAY. "It honors high standards of quality, both at the team and individual level of an organization."

Established in 1986, the U-M Cancer Center is one of 32 National Cancer Institute-designated "comprehensive" cancer centers in the country. The Center has more than 285 members who receive approximately $60 million in direct research support each year. The Cancer Center is organized into 16 clinical, four basic science, and five cancer prevention and control programs. All programs are multidisciplinary, reaching across traditional departmental lines to promote research and stimulate interactions between clinicians, scientists and other health care providers.

The Quality Cup winners and finalists will be honored May 1 at a luncheon at USA TODAY headquarters in Arlington, Va. For more information about the Quality Cup winners and finalists see May 1 editions of USA TODAY.


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