ROWLANDS S. & CALLEN J. (2013) European Journal of Cancer Care22, 20–31
A qualitative analysis of communication between members of a hospital-based multidisciplinary lung cancer team
The aim of the study was to explore how patient information is communicated between health professionals within a multidisciplinary hospital-based lung cancer team and to identify mechanisms to improve these communications. A qualitative method was employed using semi-structured in-depth interviews with a representative sample (n = 22) of members of a multidisciplinary hospital-based lung cancer team including medical, nursing and allied health professionals. Analysis was undertaken using a thematic grounded theory approach to derive key themes to describe communication patterns within the team and how communication could be improved. Two themes with sub-themes were identified: (1) characteristics of communication between team members including the impact of role on direction of communications, and doctors' dominance in communications; and (2) channels of communication including, preference for face-to-face and the suboptimal roles of the Multidisciplinary Team Meeting and the hospital medical record as mediums for communication. Traditional influences of role delineation and the dominance of doctors were found to impact on communication within the multidisciplinary hospital-based lung cancer team. Existing guidelines on implementation of multidisciplinary cancer care fail to address barriers to effective team communication. The paper-based medical record does not support team communications and alternative electronic solutions need to be used.