The Effects of a Multidisciplinary Care Conference on the Quality and Cost of Care for Lung Cancer Patients

Ann Thorac Surg. 2015 Nov;100(5):1834-8; discussion 1838. doi: 10.1016/j.athoracsur.2015.05.056. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Background: A prospective, multidisciplinary care conference (MDC) has been shown to result in measurable benefits for patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However whether a MDC also results in a difference in resource utilization and cost as well as whether these benefits persist across a multiinstitutional system has not been reported. This investigation compared propensity-matched patients with NSCLC whose care was coordinated through a MDC to patients without access to an MDC across a geographically diverse system of hospitals.

Methods: The Premiere database (Premier Inc, Charlotte, NC) for a health system's 70 hospitals was used to identify patients undergoing treatment for NSCLC during a 5-year period. Propensity matching was used to populate an MDC and non-MDC cohort. The two cohorts were compared for the costs of staging and diagnosis as well as the timeliness and quality of care metrics.

Results: Between 2008 and 2013, 13,254 patients were propensity matched. Patient demographics and Charlson comorbidity scores were comparable after matching. Significant differences were identified in adherence to national guidelines (p < 0.0001) for staging and treatment (p < 0.0001), timeliness of care (p < 0.0001), and costs (p < 0.0001) between the two groups.

Conclusions: This investigation found that patients with NSCLC realize improved quality and timeliness of care when that care is coordinated through an MDC. The use of an MDC was also associated with a significant reduction in cost. These differences persisted across a geographically diverse set of hospitals, providers, and patients. Prospective MDCs should be considered integral and compulsory for patients with NSCLC.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / economics*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / therapy*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / economics*
  • Lung Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Retrospective Studies