Team-Based Cancer Care Explored in Special Series of Journal of Oncology Practice

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The Journal of Oncology Practice (JOP) published a special series in its November issue representing the results of a unique project launched in 2014 by ASCO and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to heighten awareness of ways to enhance team-based care in oncology. Concerns about clinician burnout, coordination of care, and the dramatic changes underway in oncology care delivery and reimbursement caused ASCO to prioritize this partnership with the National Cancer Institute to explore application of the evidence on highly functioning clinical teams to oncology care.

The NCI-ASCO Teams in Cancer Care Initiative involved writing teams of clinicians, researchers, and patient advocates who developed manuscripts that explore specific cancer care case studies (either fictional cases or an amalgamation of multiple care experiences), illustrate models of team-based care, and highlight the added value of high-performing teams in effectively delivering care. The cases span a range of cancer care scenarios, varying in the type of cancer, care setting, stage of treatment, and patient characteristics.

The NCI-ASCO collaboration recognizes that clinical teams are defined by “two or more people who interact dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively to achieve a common goal shared within the context of some larger group or organization.”1 The series builds on a growing body of evidence that has emerged in recent years suggesting team-based care may be an effective mechanism to overcome current health-care challenges and improve health-care delivery for patients overall.

As illustrated in the series, the application of team-based care in oncology presents unique and complex challenges to achieve effective multidisciplinary team care. A patient with cancer often receives care from not just a single team, but a “team of teams,” which all works together to provide the full range of care. These specialized teams may be responsible for one or more facets or stages of care, and each may have its own team-level objectives, communications channels, and cultures. High-quality, multidisciplinary team care requires teams to effectively coordinate and share specialized knowledge about the patient and their care role with the other teams involved in the patient’s care. This series discusses a number of tactics and mechanisms that could be implemented in various scenarios to improve communication, align goals, foster cross-team trust, and enhance specialized knowledge sharing to ultimately deliver more effective multidisciplinary team-based cancer care.

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© 2016. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.


1. Kosty MP, Hanley A, Chollette V, et al: National Cancer Institute–American Society of Clinical Oncology Teams in Cancer Care Project. J Oncol Pract 11:955-958, 2016.




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