Facilitators and barriers to teamworking and patient centeredness in multidisciplinary cancer teams: findings of a national study

Ann Surg Oncol. 2013 May;20(5):1408-16. doi: 10.1245/s10434-012-2676-9. Epub 2012 Oct 20.


Background: Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are the standard means of making clinical decisions in surgical oncology. The aim of this study was to explore the views of MDT members regarding contribution to the MDT, representation of patients' views, and dealing with disagreements in MDT meetings-issues that affect clinical decision making, but have not previously been addressed.

Methods: Responses to open questions from a 2009 national survey of MDT members about effective MDT working in the United Kingdom were analyzed for content. Emergent themes were identified and tabulated, and verbatim quotes were extracted to validate and illustrate themes.

Results: Free-text responses from 1,636 MDT members were analyzed. Key themes were: (1) the importance of nontechnical skills, organizational support, and good relationships between team members for effective teamworking; (2) recording of disagreements (potentially sharing them with patients) and the importance of patient-centered information in relation to team decision making; (3) the central role of clinical nurse specialists as the patient's advocates, complementing the role of physicians in relation to patient centeredness.

Conclusions: Developing team members' nontechnical skills and providing organizational support are necessary to help ensure that MDTs are delivering high-quality, patient-centered care. Recording dissent in decision making within the MDT is an important element, which should be defined further. The question of how best to represent the patient in MDT meetings also requires further exploration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Allied Health Personnel
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Communication
  • Cooperative Behavior*
  • Dissent and Disputes
  • Group Processes
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Leadership
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Nurse's Role
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Patient-Centered Care / organization & administration*
  • Physicians
  • United Kingdom