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Gaps and Overlaps in Cancer Multidisciplinary Team Communication: Analysis of Speech

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Murtagh, Ged M 
Lamb, Benjamin W 
Bali, Anish 
Gandamihardja, Tasha 


jats:p Guided by the principles of conversation analysis, we examined the communication practices used to negotiate levels of participation in cancer multidisciplinary team meetings and their implications for patient safety. Three cancer teams participated. Thirty-six weekly meetings were video recorded, encompassing 822 case reviews. A cross-section was transcribed using Jefferson notation. We found a low frequency of gaps between speakers (3%), high frequency of overlaps (24%), and no-gaps-no-overlaps (73%), suggesting fast turn transitions. Securing a turn to speak is challenging due to a systematic reduction in turn-taking opportunities. We contribute to group research with the development of a microlevel methodology for studying multidisciplinary teams. </jats:p>


Funder: Health Services and Delivery Research Programme; FundRef:


35 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services, 5201 Applied and Developmental Psychology, 5205 Social and Personality Psychology, 3507 Strategy, Management and Organisational Behaviour, 52 Psychology, Cancer, Cancer

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Small Group Research

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SAGE Publications