Multidisciplinary teamwork has become the standard in care for oncological patients and their treatment trajectory when comprehensive, holistic, and high-quality cancer care is needed. Working together from a variety of perspectives is difficult to achieve and has well-known pitfalls, such as miscommunication and poor coordination. To improve multidisciplinary teamwork, the focus needs to be on the process of collaboration throughout the cancer care trajectory of the patient. A more integrated, interdisciplinary approach should be aimed for to recognize the role and contribution of all disciplines involved. A cultural change is needed toward interdisciplinary practice in hospitals to reach partnership between all involved professionals as part of a participatory, collaborative, and coordinated approach.
In current cancer care, multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTMs) aim at uniting care professionals from different disciplines to decide upon the best possible treatment plan for the patients based on the available scientific evidence. In Belgium, the multidisciplinary approach is mandatory and formally regulated since 2003. Current research indicates that MDTMs are not always truly multidisciplinary, ie, with a mix of medical as well as paramedical disciplines, and that the medical profession (physicians and medical specialists) tends to dominate the interaction in MDTMs. To ensure that MDTMs can benefit from their diverse membership to achieve their full potential, significant attention should be devoted to the multidisciplinary character of these meetings. The aim of this study is to explore and describe the multidisciplinary character in MDTMs and how it is actually shaped in practice in different Flemish medical oncology departments.
Process management approaches all pursue standardization, of which evidence-based medicine (EBM) is the most common form in healthcare. While EBM addresses improvement in clinical performance, it is unclear whether EBM also enhances operational performance. Conversely, operational process standardization (OPS) does not necessarily yield better clinical performance. The authors have therefore looked at the relationship between clinical practise standardization (CPS) and OPS and the way in which they jointly affect operational performance. The paper aims to discuss this issue.
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