Multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are an integral component in the delivery of health care. This is particularly evident in the delivery of cancer care, where multidisciplinary teams are internationally recognized as the preferred method for service delivery. The use of health information systems and technology are key enabling factors for building the capacity of MDTs to engage in improvement and implementation projects but there is scant research on how MDTs make use of technology and information systems or the kinds of systems needed for them to undertake improvement and implementation research. This paper reports findings on how seven MDTs in cancer care utilized technological and information systems and the barriers and enabling factors that impacted on their uptake.Methods
Seven multidisciplinary teams from two large metropolitan hospitals participated in the study. Qualitative methods including structured observations and semi structured interviews that explored how teams engaged in research and improvement activities were utilized. Participants were also observed and interviewed in relation to their use of data and health information systems. Findings were subject to content analysis and key themes were identified. Interviews were transcribed and de-identified and key themes were subsequently discussed with participants to allow for member checking and further clarification of findings.Results
A total of 43 MDT meetings across seven tumor streams were observed. Of these, observation notes from 13 meetings contained direct references to emerging technologies and health information systems. Findings from 15 semi-structured interviews were also analyzed in relation to how MDTs used technology in weekly meetings, and the perceived impact of technology. Three broad themes emerged: (1) methods for data collection and use by MDTs, (2) the impact of technology on the MDT meeting environment, and (3) the impact of technology and information systems on clinical decision making.Conclusion
The study demonstrates that real time data collection and imaging may improve patient centered care coordination. However, ICTs can be used sub-optimally by teams. We therefore urge additional research to identify the enabling factors that support better collection and use of outcome data from ICT.