More than 180 Victorian cancer Multi-disciplinary team meetings (MDMs) are conducted regularly to develop treatment recommendations for patients. In March 2020, to minimise COVID-19 risks, most Victorian MDMs changed their model from face-to-face to remote meetings.
A survey was conducted for MDM participants across seven regions to identify changes in quality during COVID-19. It was based on the Victorian Cancer Multi-disciplinary Meeting Quality Framework (MDMQF) published by DHHS.
Of the 183 survey respondents 32% were Metropolitan and 67% Regional. Highest response rates were from Surgeons (36), Nurses (28), Medical Oncologist (21) and Radiologists (18).
Results indicated positive ratings on meeting quality. Compared to the 2019 baseline, results improved for questions about preparation of presenters (+11%) and willingness to refer patients externally (+11%). 23% of remote attendees indicated sound problems, 15% were sometimes unable to see images clearly, and 11% had trouble accessing patient information.
One question scored lower statewide than the 2019 survey: “MDM provides good opportunities for my own learning and professional development” (-3%).
Remote MDM changes prompted negative and positive comments. Positive themes included convenience, efficiency and increased attendance, with better technical connection noted by those with previous remote meeting experience. Negative themes included less discussion, consensus and teamwork, technical problems, and greater risk of error. Radiologists and pathologists were positive (70%) about remote MDMs, commenting on convenience and availability to attend more.
40% [73/183] of survey respondents made no comments. Of those who didn't comment, 53% were from groups who don't refer patients to MDMs. The most frequent non-commenters were surgeons [15/73], nurses [13/73] and MDM Administrators [8/73].
This survey does not demonstrate a marked decline in MDM quality during COVID-19. There is evidence of improvements in attendance, convenience and connection quality for remote participants. Key metrics to monitor are technical issues, communication and efficiency.