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J Oncol Pract. 2010 Nov;6(6):283-8. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2010.000138.

Models of multidisciplinary cancer care: physician and patient perceptions in a comprehensive cancer center.

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Departments of Medical Oncology, Surgical Oncology, and Radiation Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Brigham and Women's Hospital; Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.



Multidisciplinary clinics (MDCs) play a prominent role in coordinating complex cancer care delivered by multiple providers from different disciplines. The structure of such clinics and clinicians' perceptions of the advantages and disadvantages of practicing in MDCs have not been well characterized.


We surveyed and interviewed medical providers who participate in cancer MDCs at our comprehensive cancer center about the structure of the MDCs in which they work, their satisfaction working in these clinics, and the perceived benefits and disadvantages. Press-Ganey patient satisfaction scores were also examined.


WE IDENTIFIED TWO CARE MODELS: one in which patients are seen sequentially by physicians from each discipline, and a second model in which patients are seen concurrently by physicians from each discipline. Of the 141 survey respondents from surgical oncology, medical oncology and radiation oncology, more than 90% of providers enjoyed working in an MDC and more than 75% preferred to see new patients in an MDC. Additionally, 90% believed that patients perceived the clinics to be valuable for comprehensive, coordinated, and appropriate care. However, one third of the phsyicians thought the clinics were not an efficient use of their time. Participants who practice in the concurrent model of care and surgical oncologists were more likely to express frustration with the inefficiency of MDCs. Patients seen in each clinic model uniformly expressed high satisfaction with the coordination of care.


MDCs are valued by oncology patients and providers. Although they are personally and professionally satisfying for physicians, the use of this care model is perceived as inefficient by some caregivers.

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