What is a virtual multidisciplinary team (vMDT)?

Br J Cancer. 2013 Jun 25;108(12):2433-41. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2013.231. Epub 2013 Jun 11.


Background: Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTs), also known as tumour boards or multidisciplinary case conferences, are an integral component of contemporary cancer care. There are logistical problems with setting up and maintaining participation in these meetings. An ill-defined concept, the virtual MDT (vMDT), has arisen in response to these difficulties. We have, in order to provide clarity and to generate discussion, attempted to define the concept of the vMDT, outline its advantages and disadvantages, and consider some of the practical aspects involved in setting up a virtual MDT.

Methods: This is an unstructured review of published evidence and personal experience relating to virtual teams in general, and to MDTs in particular.

Results: We have devised a simple taxonomy for MDTs, discussed some of the practicalities involved in setting up a vMDT, and described some of the potential advantages and disadvantages associated with vMDTs.

Conclusion: The vMDT may be useful for discussions concerning rare or unusual tumours, or for helping guide the assessment and management of patients with uncommon complications related to treatment. However, the vMDT is a niche concept and is currently unlikely to replace the more traditional face-to-face MDT in the management of common tumours at specific sites.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Management
  • Group Processes
  • Health Plan Implementation / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Interdisciplinary Communication*
  • Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Online Systems / organization & administration
  • Online Systems / supply & distribution
  • Patient Care Team / classification
  • Patient Care Team / organization & administration*
  • Terminology as Topic*
  • User-Computer Interface*