How do organisational characteristics influence teamwork and service delivery in lung cancer diagnostic assessment programmes? A mixed-methods study Academic Article uri icon

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  • OBJECTIVES: Diagnostic assessment programmes (DAPs) can reduce wait times for cancer diagnosis, but optimal DAP design is unknown. This study explored how organisational characteristics influenced multidisciplinary teamwork and diagnostic service delivery in lung cancer DAPs. DESIGN: A mixed-methods approach integrated data from descriptive qualitative interviews and medical record abstraction at 4 lung cancer DAPs. Findings were analysed with the Integrated Team Effectiveness Model. SETTING: 4 DAPs at 2 teaching and 2 community hospitals in Canada. PARTICIPANTS: 22 staff were interviewed about organisational characteristics, target service benchmarks, and teamwork processes, determinants and outcomes; 314 medical records were reviewed for actual service benchmarks. RESULTS: Formal, informal and asynchronous team processes enabled service delivery and yielded many perceived benefits at the patient, staff and service levels. However, several DAP characteristics challenged teamwork and service delivery: referral volume/workload, time since launch, days per week of operation, rural-remote population, number and type of full-time/part-time human resources, staff colocation, information systems. As a result, all sites failed to meet target benchmarks (from referral to consultation median 4.0 visits, median wait time 35.0 days). Recommendations included improved information systems, more staff in all specialties, staff colocation and expanded roles for patient navigators. Findings were captured in a conceptual framework of lung cancer DAP teamwork determinants and outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: This study identified several DAP characteristics that could be improved to facilitate teamwork and enhance service delivery, thereby contributing to knowledge of organisational determinants of teamwork and associated outcomes. Findings can be used to update existing DAP guidelines, and by managers to plan or evaluate lung cancer DAPs. Ongoing research is needed to identify ideal roles for navigators, and staffing models tailored to case volumes.


  • Honein-AbouHaidar, Gladys N
  • Stuart-McEwan, Terri
  • Waddell, Tom
  • Salvarrey, Alexandra
  • Smylie, Jennifer
  • Dobrow, Mark J
  • Brouwers, Melissa Christine
  • Gagliardi, Anna R

publication date

  • February 2017