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Degrees of Multidisciplinarity Underpinning Care Planning for Patients with Cancer in Weekly Multidisciplinary Team Meetings: Conversation Analysis

Authors Soukup T, Murtagh G, Lamb BW, Green JSA, Sevdalis N

Received 2 July 2020

Accepted for publication 8 September 2020

Published 18 February 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 411—424


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Tayana Soukup,1 Ged Murtagh,2 Benjamin W Lamb,3,4 James SA Green,5,* Nick Sevdalis1,*

1Centre for Implementation Science, King’s College London, London, UK; 2Imperial College London, London, UK; 3Department of Urology, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Cambridge, UK; 4Faculty of Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, United Kingdom; 5Whipps Cross University Hospital, Barts Health NHS Trust, London, UK

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Correspondence: Tayana Soukup
King’s College London, Health Service and Population Research Department, Demark Hill, London, SE5 8AF, UK
Tel +44 20 7848 0683

Purpose: Despite an increase in research on multidisciplinary team (MDT) meetings, the implementation of MDT-driven decision-making, ie, its fidelity, remains unstudied. We report fidelity using an observational protocol measuring degree to which MDTs in their weekly meetings in the UK adhere to 1) the stages of group decision-making as per the ‘Orientation-Discussion-Decision-Implementation’ framework, and 2) cancer guidelines on the composition and characteristics of their weekly meetings produced by the UK’s Department of Health, UK’s National Cancer Action Team, Cancer Research UK, World Health Organization, and The Expert Advisory Group on Cancer to the Chief Medical Officers of England and Wales.
Patients and Methods: This is a prospective cross-sectional observational study of MDT meetings in the UK. Breast, colorectal, and gynecological cancer MDTs across three hospitals in the UK were video recorded over 12 weekly meetings, respectively, encompassing 822 case-reviews. A cross-section of 24 case-reviews was analysed with the main outcomes being adherence to the ‘Orientation-Discussion-Decision-Implementation’ framework, and the cancer guidelines.
Results: Eight percent of case-reviews in the MDT meetings involved all five core disciplines including surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, histopathologists, and specialist cancer nurses, and 38% included four. The majority of case-reviews (54%) were between two (25%) or three (29%) disciplines only. Surgeons (83%) and oncologists (8%) most consistently engaged in all stages of decision-making. While all patients put forward for MDT meeting were actually reviewed, 4% of them either bypassed the orientation (case presentation), and 8% did not articulate the final decision to the entire team.
Conclusion: We found that, despite being a set policy, cancer case-reviews in MDT meetings are not entirely MDT-driven, with more than half of the case-reviews not adhering to the cancer guidelines, and just over 10% not adhering to the group decision-making framework. The findings are in line with the UK recommendation on streamlining MDT meetings and could help decide how to re-organise the meetings to be most efficient. Implications are discussed in relation to quality and safety of care.

Keywords: cancer multidisciplinary team meetings, cancer care, decision-making, fidelity

Creative Commons License This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License. The full terms of the License are available at The license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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