What is multidisciplinary care? What are the benefits of MDC? Where can I find out more?
What is multidisciplinary care?
Multidisciplinary care (MDC) is considered best practice in the treatment planning and care for patients with cancer. It is an integrated team approach to health care in which medical and allied health care professionals consider all relevant treatment options and collaboratively develop an individual treatment and care plan for each patient. MDC involves all relevant health professionals discussing options and making joint decisions about treatment and supportive care plans, taking into account the personal preferences of the patient.
What are the benefits of MDC?
Multidisciplinary care (MDC) is considered best practice in the treatment planning and care for patients with cancer.
Evidence indicates that a team approach to cancer care, in which health care professionals together consider all treatment options and develop an individual treatment plan for each patient, can reduce mortality and improve quality of life for the patient. Health care professionals can also benefit, in terms of interdisciplinary collaboration, education and peer support opportunities.
Listed below are some of the main benefits for patients and health professionals-
For the patients:
- increased survival for patients managed by a MDC team
- shorter timeframes from diagnosis to treatment
- greater likelihood of receiving care in accord with clinical practice guidelines, including psychosocial support
- increased access to information
- improved satisfaction with treatment and care.
For the health professional:
- improved patient care and outcomes through the development of an agreed treatment plan
- streamlined treatment pathways and reduction in duplication of services
- improved coordination of care
- educational opportunities for health professionals
- improved mental well-being of health professionals
As with any team based approach to care there are challenges to consider when setting up MDC teams, such as how to best set up team structures, who should be part of the team, time and resource costs implications, and possible geographical location restraints of managing meetings.
There are Australian focused resources available to help you learn more around MDC and how to approach the set up and running of MDC teams. A good place to start is to explore Cancer Australia’s web-based practical tools to assist health professionals and health service administrators implement MDC at the local level, based on the 'Principles of multidisciplinary care'.
Where can I find out more?
Additional resources on MDC can be found at:
Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM)
The site supports clinicians, administrators and rural health support teams with practical resources, timely content, and advice regarding use of TeleHealth.
Link to: http://www.ehealth.acrrm.org.au/
Cancer Institute NSW
Information about MDC initiatives for cancer health professionals in NSW.
Link to: http://www.cancerinstitute.org.au/
Department of Human Services Victoria
Information developed by the Cancer and Palliative Care section of the Department of Human Services Victoria to support MDC teams in Victoria.