Impact evaluation of international multidisciplinary tumor boards
Sreedhar, Jason A.
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Over the last 20 years, cancer clinicians have begun to improve the efficacy of cancer care through tumor boards, meetings of multidisciplinary patient care teams used to educate attendees and align treatment plans. In addition to the potential for collaboration between different disciplines, these meetings allow for the incorporation of information from peer-reviewed literature. Despite their use, very little research has been done on the effect of tumor boards on treatment efficacy. Within this small body of work, the indicators used are often inherently biased, and little concern is given to their confounding effects. This document will discuss alternative metrics that provide a less biased estimate of the impact of tumor boards. Given their educational aspects, tumor boards are beginning to be used in an international context to support clinicians in developing nations. Despite the relative lack of evidence supporting use of tumor boards, they provide a low-cost method for improving clinician education in a setting where treatment protocols vary greatly. Moreover, international tumor boards provide a way for low-resource hospitals to tap into facilities of high-resource hospitals, receive resource-sensitive guidelines for future practice, and collaborate with clinicians from other hospitals. However, there are serious barriers to implementing international tumor boards, including technological, logistical, linguistic, and oversight issues. This document outlines potential issues and methods to circumvent them, as well as benefits of international tumor boards (including future collaboration).