The management of patients with suspected or known cancer is becoming increasingly complex. Their care often requires input from many disciplines of medicine, including surgery, medical oncology, radiation oncology, pathology, and radiology. As a result multidisciplinary input into care is vital in establishing a seamless coordinated approach to state-of-the-art diagnosis, treatment and care of the patients with cancer. Harbin Clinic physicians have long recognized the importance of a multidisciplinary approach so patients with suspected cancer are expeditiously evaluated and referred for management.
Harbin Clinic began its first multidisciplinary cancer conference, Chest Tumor Conference, in March 2003. The group is represented by all medical specialists involved in the care of this group of patients. Nursing and registry personnel also attend the weekly conferences. Physicians present and discuss cases of pulmonary tumor and newly diagnosed lung cancers. Treatment decisions are based on clinical data, research data, national guidelines and patient preference. This team approach allows all the specialties to discuss each individual patient's case in detail. Each specialty's perspective is needed to ensure that all treatment options have been evaluated. By involving all these disciplines, we end up with the best therapeutic approach for the patient because we have this forum for discussing all options including their eligibility for enrollment into clinical trials.
As a result of the success of our weekly multidisciplinary chest conference, we began two additional multidisciplinary conferences, including Breast and Genitourinary conferences. These two additional conferences have been critical in the development of optimal clinical pathways used in the diagnosis, management and follow-up of our cancer patients
Our goal for patients is the provision of seamless, integrated care as they transition between various specialists once they have received a cancer diagnosis. Our Nurse Navigator is the common thread which enhances the communication and coordination of care between the patients, their families, and our health care team. Our future plans include expanding our successful multidisciplinary services and Nurse Navigator program.