Research Grant: Teamwork in Oncology

WeCare Grant Teamwork in Oncology
WeCare grant awarded “Teamwork in oncology: Improving the effectiveness of multidisciplinary team meetings”.

We received a WeCare grant awarded “Teamwork in oncology: Improving the effectiveness of multidisciplinary team meetings”. The grant was awarded by Tilburg University and St. Elisabeth Hospital Tilburg. Together with Laurens Beerenpoot (internist-oncologist) and Roger Leenders (professor of networks in organizations), we will be investigating the effectiveness of oncological multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTMs). In our project, we will observe around 60 MDTMs in order to make recommendations about how the effectiveness and efficiency of these meetings may be improved.

You can read the summary of the project proposal below.

Project Summary

Cancer is the most prevalent cause of death in the Netherlands. Cancer care is multidisciplinary. In this project we study factors that affect the performance of oncological multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTM’s). MDTM’s vary greatly in effectiveness. Many factors undermine the effectiveness of MDTM’s: they are diverse with members from different specializations working under time pressure; information is not always readily available or shared; and MDTM’s are usually partly virtual, with participants joining from different locations/hospitals. Current studies of MDTM effectiveness focus mostly on patient information accessibility and only little research exists about the communication processes inside MDTM’s and how these may be improved.

In this project, we focus on how MDTM members interact during MTDM meetings and how this is affected by structural characteristics of the MDTM (e.g., composition, technology, team roles, and expertise).

We use an innovative research approach: dynamic social network analysis–an advanced statistical approach that makes it possible to uncover fine-grained social interaction processes and routines that distinguish MDTM’s from eachother. We will attend and analyze 45 MDTM’s, in each of which about twenty patients are discussed.

Our project serves three goals. First, we add to the scientific research on MDTM effectiveness, with a specific focus on their communicative processes. Second, we generate a unique dataset that we will make publicly available for scientific research. Third, we will provide practical recommendations to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of oncological MDTM’s within ETZ and partner hospitals in its EMBRAZE comprehensive cancer network (and, potentially, generic recommendations for MDTM’s in the Netherlands).

The outcomes of the project will serve as input for a follow-up project with a larger sample of MDTM’s in different settings and hospitals with the objective of developing a protocol and technological interventions to support MDTM effectiveness.

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