From 5 to 7 June 2023, the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore hosted the European Health Management Association (EHMA) conference in Rome. The university shares the campus with one of the best hospitals in the world, the Policlinico Universitario Agostino Gemelli. The title of the conference was “Health management: sustainable solutions for complex systems”. Guido Offermanns from the University of Klagenfurt and Andrea Schweiger from the Karl Landsteiner Institute for Hospital Organisation were represented with two contributions. The first paper, “Processes and structures affecting tumour board quality: a systematic review”, presented the results of a systematic review of the current state of work in multidisciplinary teams using the example of tumour boards. In Austria, 45,000 people are diagnosed with cancer every year, and this number will at least double by 2040, which will pose great challenges to the health care system. In tumour boards, health professionals from different disciplines who deal with a specific tumour entity work together. This results in a high financial, personnel and time expenditure. The aim is to find the best and most evidence-based decision for the patients concerned and thus to optimise and coordinate the care process. The inclusion of patients in the healing process should also be actively promoted.
The core message of the study is that tumour board teams, which have to deal with complex tasks of decision-making for patients, must use targeted instruments for team development. In this way, on the one hand, the cooperation in the teams can function better and, on the other hand, the results in patient care can improve. However, this can be a great challenge in the context of implementation in expert organisations, as different professional groups with different professional perspectives on the disease come together in the tumour boards.
Referring to the topic, the second contribution “Quality improvement in multidisciplinary cancer team meetings at a university hospital: First results of a self-assessment tool” dealt with results from an empirical study at a university hospital, which promotes the increase of effectiveness and efficiency of teamwork in tumour boards through the use of a self-assessment tool. The results show the outstanding importance of, among other things, the working culture in the teams, the process of decision-making, regular attendance, formal structures in the boards, decision-making as well as appropriate documentation with the resulting implementation of decisions in the clinics. In order to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of the work in the teams, scientifically validated instruments for team development can be used in a targeted manner, with each tumour board receiving individual feedback on its work. Due to the success of the study, the investigation will be extended to other tumour boards with other tumour entities of the University Hospital.
Link to the conference and further information: https://ehmaconference.org/
Please direct any queries to Guido Offermanns, guido [dot] offermanns [at] aau [dot] at
Pictures from Guido Offermanns