Use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in cancer multidisciplinary team meetings: an explorative study based on EU healthcare professionals

BMJ Open. 2022 Oct 6;12(10):e051181. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2021-051181.


Objectives: Multidisciplinary teams in cancer care are increasingly using information and communication technology (ICT), hospital health information system (HIS) functionalities and ICT-driven care components. We aimed to explore the use of these tools in multidisciplinary team meetings (MTMs) and to identify the critical challenges posed by their adoption based on the perspective of professionals representatives from European scientific societies.

Design: This qualitative study used discussion of cases and focus group technique to generate data. Thematic analysis was applied.

Setting: Healthcare professionals working in a multidisciplinary cancer care environment.

Participants: Selection of informants was carried out by European scientific societies in accordance with professionals' degree of experience in adopting the implementation of ICT and from different health systems.

Results: Professionals representatives of 9 European scientific societies were involved. Up to 10 ICTs, HIS functionalities and care components are embedded in the informational and decision-making processes along three stages of MTMs. ICTs play a key role in opening MTMs to other institutions (eg, by means of molecular tumour boards) and information types (eg, patient-reported outcome measures), and in contributing to the internal efficiency of teams. While ICTs and care components have their own challenges, the information technology context is characterised by the massive generation of unstructured data, the lack of interoperability between systems from different hospitals and HIS that are conceived to store and classify information rather than to work with it.

Conclusions: The emergence of an MTM model that is better integrated in the wider health system context and incorporates inputs from patients and support systems make traditional meetings more dynamic and interconnected. Although these changes signal a second transition in the development process of multidisciplinary teams, they occur in a context marked by clear gaps between the information and management needs of MTMs and the adequacy of current HIS.

Keywords: health services administration & management; information technology; oncology; telemedicine.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Humans
  • Information Technology*
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Patient Care Team