Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTMs) have become standard practice in oncology. They aim at collaborative decision-making about patient management ensuring evidence based treatment decisions. Literature suggests that treatment planning should be patient centered and should also take account of patients' and families' views and preferences. Therefore, it is crucial that medical as well as psychosocial information is presented and considered during MDTMs. Failure to account for patients’ psychosocial information may have a negative impact on the implementation of treatment decisions formulated within an MDTM. In-depth insight in the underlying reasons why MDTMs fail to take into account psychosocial information is needed to enhance the effectiveness of MDTMs considering that they consume considerable time, effort and financial resources.
This contribution presents an observational study at medical oncology departments in Flanders (Belgium) focussing on the personal, professional, organisational and system related barriers to consider psychosocial information during a formally regulated and financed type of MDTM in Belgian oncology: the “multidisciplinary oncology consultation” (MOC). Data are collected through observations of MOC-meetings and semi-structured individual interviews with members of the MOC from different disciplines.
Consistent with findings in international research, the MOCs are characterised by a strong medical dominance in terms of attendance and contributions to the decision making process. The treatment decisions are mainly based on biomedical information with far less consideration of psychosocial aspects. A lack of (dedicated and formally assigned) time is the most reported barrier of the nursing and paramedical professions, which has negative influence on the consideration of psychosocial information. Hierarchical relations and cultural differences between the professionals also may influence the decision-making processes.
This study highlights the importance of effective multidisciplinary communication during MDTMs to avoid both the marginalization of team members and “poor” decision-making. This research also suggests that MDTMs could benefit from supporting tools and interventions to guide and structure multidisciplinary communication and team reflexivity.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event16th International Conference on Communication in Healthcare - Porto, Portugal
Duration: 1 Sep 20184 Sep 2018


Conference16th International Conference on Communication in Healthcare
Abbreviated titleICCH

ID: 39410814