Why Multidisciplinary Teams are Becoming More Common in Europe

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Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

Rich Pulvino, Digital Media Specialist, Carestream

We have written before about the benefits of multidisciplinary teams. It was a popular topic at RSNA 2013 and continues to gain more ground in ECR 2014. In a recent panel discussion, researchers from Italy found that a multidisciplinary team focused on breast cancer diagnosis and treatment were able to see proven benefits thanks to the collaboration between radiologist, radiographers, surgeon, and pathologist.

The Italian medical professionals said that multidisciplinary team practices are sure to become more common and even crucial to providing effecting patient management. The team that presented consisted of Dr. Pietro Panizza, a radiologist at the San Raffaele Scientific Institute, radiology resident Dr. Sara Viganó from the same institution, radiologists Dr. Roberto Agresti and Dr. Laura Lozza from the Instituto Nazionale dei Tumori, and Drs. Biagio Paolini (pathology department) and Giulia Bianchi (oncology department) also from the institution.

The panel noted that multidisciplinary teams are not just important in breast imaging, but in all subspecialties of radiology. The collaboration that a multidisciplinary is based on provides the ability the better diagnose and treat patients as medical procedures become more complex. The panel noted that it is the responsibility of medical professionals to provide their patients with the highest quality of care possible and multidisciplinary teams can help ensure this.

As highlighted by AuntMinnie Europe when covering the panel, a multidisciplinary approach to care can result in the following:

  • Deliver a level of care that conforms to agreed standards and reflects national guidelines

  • Allow better adherence to evidence-based decisions

  • Create more coordinated patient care that can improve clinical decisions

  • Result in a better planning of the care pathway concerning primary and reconstructive surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and radiological assessments

  • Nurture shared decisions on clinical approved approaches, as well as get a consensus on newly innovative techniques or treatments

  • Define and coordinate follow-up strategies (i.e., postoperative, along with neoadjuvant chemotherapy, or for patients not surgically treated)

  • Boost time management due to cooperation and clearly defined pathways and guidelines

  • Improve patient involvement in treatment decisions

  • Help in problem-solving about organization and patient management

The panel concluded that the ability to work in a multidisciplinary team has allowed each member to analyze their limits and recognize where other team members are able to assist. This is the sort of self-awareness and humility that enhances the relationship and collaboration of the team, allowing for more opened minds toward different perspectives and medical interpretations.

The goal when creating and working in a multidisciplinary team is to establish a new mindset. The medical professional is no longer thinking as an individual, but as a member and contributor to a team. With this altered way of thinking, the team can effectively collaborate and ultimately provide the best care to the patients so that they receive the proper diagnoses and treatments.


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