Multidisciplinary Teams

The multi-disciplinary team (MDT) approach improves patient care and outcomes by minimising delays between diagnosis and commencement of treatment.

MDTs are a collaboration of expert clinical and non-clinical staff from various specialties who meet regularly to develop and review treatment plans for patients under the team’s care. This approach facilitates communication between disciplines and supports access for patients to all treatment modalities regardless of geographical location. It also ensures treatment and care that not only addresses both the psychological and physical needs of patients, but also delivers optimal treatment plans.

Lung Cancer Multi-Disciplinary Teams
Australian guidelines highlight the need for rapid referral of patients with suspected or proven lung cancer to a hospital and specialist linked with a lung cancer MDT service.

While the value of the MDT model of care is recognised, there are challenges for ensuring patients are managed optimally within this system. First, referral pathways need to be clear and readily accessible so that all patients with proven or suspected lung cancer are directed to a dedicated lung cancer MDT. Second, MDTs must be “fit for purpose” i.e. hospitals and MDT members have the right capabilities, resources and processes in place.

In 2016, Lung Foundation Australia launched the first Australian directory of dedicated lung cancer MDTs to support the referral of patients to hospitals with an MDT. This online resource enables a referring clinician to locate lung cancer MDTs, summarises information about the available diagnostic and treatment services and, where available, links to the MDT’s referral pathway.