Interdisciplinary care of pediatric oncology patients in Central America and the Caribbean


BACKGROUND: Interdisciplinary teamwork supports high-quality cancer care and effective utilization of limited resources. This study purposed to examine the value, structure, process, and effectiveness of interdisciplinary care (IDC) among pediatric oncology providers in low-income and middle-income countries in Central America and the Caribbean. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was disseminated to pediatric oncology providers at 5 centers participating in the Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Association of Central America. The survey included previously validated items and novel questions assessing the value (importance), structure (multidisciplinary meeting attendance), process (team climate), and effectiveness (job satisfaction, quality of care and communication) of IDC. RESULTS: The survey was completed by 174 providers, including 22 oncologists, 9 pathologists, 9 radiologists, 5 radiation oncologists, 12 surgeons, 35 subspecialists, 60 nurses, 20 psychosocial providers, and 2 other staff. Participants agreed that IDC benefits team members (95%) and patients (96%). IDC structure and processes varied across the region. Multidisciplinary meeting attendance differed by center (P = .005) and discipline (P < .0001). Participants who frequently attended multidisciplinary meetings reported a more positive team climate (P = .0003). Team climate was positively associated with job satisfaction (P < .001). In multivariable analyses, team climate was predictive of an improved perception of communication between professionals (P < .0001), with families (P < .0001), and with patients (P = .0005), as well as with quality of the care environment (P = .006) and overall care quality (P < .0001). CONCLUSIONS: Nearly all surveyed participants valued IDC, and the structure and processes supporting IDC varied by center. Associations between a collaborative professional climate, job satisfaction, and the perception of quality care encourage continued investigation and prioritization of IDC in these settings.

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