Cancer multidisciplinary team meetings: impact of logistical challenges on communication and decision-making.
BACKGROUND: Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are widely used in cancer care. Recent research points to logistical challenges impeding MDT decision-making and dissatisfaction among members. This study sought to identify different types of logistical issues and how they impacted team processes. METHODS: This was a secondary analysis of a cross-sectional observational study. Three cancer MDTs (breast, colorectal, and gynaecological) were recruited from UK hospitals. Validated observational instruments were used to measure decision-making (Metrics of Observational Decision-making, MDT-MODe), communication (Bales' Interaction Process Analysis, Bales' IPA), and case complexity (Measure of Case Discussion Complexity, MeDiC), including logistical challenges (Measure of Case Discussion Complexity, MeDiC), across 822 case discussions from 30 videoed meetings. Descriptive analysis and paired samples t tests were used to identify and compare frequency of different types of logistical challenges, along with partial correlations, controlling for clinical complexity of cases, to understand how such issues related to the MDT decision-making and communication. RESULTS: A significantly higher frequency of administrative and process issues (affecting 30 per cent of cases) was seen compared with the frequency of equipment issues (affecting 5 per cent of cases; P < 0.001) and the frequency of the attendance issues (affecting 16 per cent of cases; P < 0.001). The frequency of the attendance issues was significantly higher than the frequency of equipment issues (P < 0.001). Partial correlation analysis revealed that administrative and process issues, including attendance, were negatively correlated with quality of information (r = -0.15, P < 0.001; r = -0.11, P < 0.001), and equipment issues with the quality of contribution to meeting discussion (r = -0.14, P < 0.001). More questioning and answering by MDT members was evident with the administrative and process issues (r = 0.21, P < 0.001; r = 0.19, P < 0.001). Some differences were observed in teams' socioemotional reactions to the administrative and process issues with the gynaecological MDT showing positive correlation with positive socioemotional reactions (r = 0.20, P < 0.001), and the breast cancer MDT with negative socioemotional reactions (r = 0.17, P < 0.001). CONCLUSION: Administrative and process issues were the most frequent logistical challenges for the studied teams. Where diagnostic results were unavailable, and inadequate patient details provided, the quality of decision-making was reduced.
Funder: National Institute for Health Research (NIHR)
Funder: Wellcome Trust