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Open Access Highly Accessed Study protocol

Evaluation of the impact of interdisciplinarity in cancer care

Dominique Tremblay12*, Danièle Roberge13, Linda Cazale4, Nassera Touati5, Elizabeth Maunsell6, Jean Latreille178 and Jacques Lemaire2

Author Affiliations

1 Charles LeMoyne Hospital Research Center, Greenfield Park, Québec, Canada

2 School of Nursing, Université de Sherbrooke (Longueuil campus), Longueuil, Québec, Canada

3 Department of Community Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke (Longueuil campus), Longueuil, Québec, Canada

4 Department of Health Statistics, Institut de la statistique du Québec, Montréal, Québec, Canada

5 École nationale d'administration publique, Montréal, Québec, Canada

6 Faculty of Medicine, Université Laval, Québec City, Québec, Canada

7 Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke (Longueuil campus), Longueuil, Québec, Canada

8 Centre intégré de cancérologie de la Montérégie, Greenfield Park, Québec, Canada

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BMC Health Services Research 2011, 11:144  doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-144

Published: 3 June 2011

Abstract

Background

Teamwork is a key component of the health care renewal strategy emphasized in Quebec, elsewhere in Canada and in other countries to enhance the quality of oncology services. While this innovation would appear beneficial in theory, empirical evidences of its impact are limited. Current efforts in Quebec to encourage the development of local interdisciplinary teams in all hospitals offer a unique opportunity to assess the anticipated benefits. These teams working in hospital outpatient clinics are responsible for treatment, follow-up and patient support. The study objective is to assess the impact of interdisciplinarity on cancer patients and health professionals.

Methods/Design

This is a quasi-experimental study with three comparison groups distinguished by intensity of interdisciplinarity: strong, moderate and weak. The study will use a random sample of 12 local teams in Quebec, stratified by intensity of interdisciplinarity. The instrument to measure the intensity of the interdisciplinarity, developed in collaboration with experts, encompasses five dimensions referring to aspects of team structure and process. Self-administered questionnaires will be used to measure the impact of interdisciplinarity on patients (health care utilization, continuity of care and cancer services responsiveness) and on professionals (professional well-being, assessment of teamwork and perception of teamwork climate). Approximately 100 health professionals working on the selected teams and 2000 patients will be recruited. Statistical analyses will include descriptive statistics and comparative analysis of the impact observed according to the strata of interdisciplinarity. Fixed and random multivariate statistical models (multilevel analyses) will also be used.

Discussion

This study will pinpoint to what extent interdisciplinarity is linked to quality of care and meets the complex and varied needs of cancer patients. It will ascertain to what extent interdisciplinary teamwork facilitated the work of professionals. Such findings are important given the growing prevalence of cancer and the importance of attracting and retaining health professionals to work with cancer patients.