Objective It is mandatory for treatment decisions for patients with colorectal cancer to be made within the context of a multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting. It is currently uncertain, however, how to best evaluate the quality of MDT decision-making. This study examined MDT decision-making by studying whether MDT treatment decisions were implemented and investigated the reasons why some decisions changed after the meeting.
Method Consecutive MDT treatment decisions were prospectively recorded. Implementation of decisions was studied by examining hospital records. Reasons for changes in MDT decisions were identified.
Results In all, 201 consecutive treatment decisions were analysed, concerning 157 patients. Twenty decisions (10.0%, 95% confidence interval 6.3–15.2%) were not implemented. Looking at the reasons for nonimplementation, nine (40%) related to co-morbidity, seven (35%) to patient choice, two changed in light of new clinical information, one doctor changed a decision and for one changed decision, no reason was apparent. When decisions changed, the final treatment was always more conservative than was originally planned and decisions were more likely to change for colon rather than rectal cancer (P = 0.024).
Conclusion The vast majority of colorectal MDT decisions were implemented and when decisions changed, it mostly related to patient factors that had not been taken into account. Analysis of the implementation of team decisions is an informative process to monitor the quality of MDT decision-making.