Best Practices / Research Oral Abstract

Assessing Interprofessional Challenges in the Field of Oncology: An Approach to Identifying Performance and Educational Needs of Healthcare Teams in Communication and Collaboration (O030)

Patrice Lazure (AXDEV Group); Sean Hayes (AXDEV Group); France St-Germain (Sanofi Canada); Sunil Verma (UoT Sunnybrook Health Centre); Maureen Trudeau (UoT Sunnybrook Health Centre); Robert Gryfe (Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute)


As gaps and barriers in the care of patients with breast and colorectal cancer prevail, it is critical that needs assessments provide an accurate and comprehensive picture of interprofessional challenges faced by healthcare providers. It is with that goal in mind that a national needs assessment of Canadian healthcare providers caring for patients with breast and colorectal cancer was designed and carried out. Through the use of a mixed-method analysis, and through triangulation approaches that included the viewpoints of patients and caregivers, interprofessional gaps and barriers that could be addressed through the development of targeted physician education and professional development were identified.


The care of persons with breast (BC) or colorectal (CRC) cancer involves individuals from multiple professions and medical specialties that are required to work collaboratively to ensure optimal delivery of care. Thus, a complete assessment of gaps and barriers in these therapeutic areas should include strategies that allow proper identification of interprofessional challenges. A national IRB-approved needs assessment was undertaken to determine the gaps (and their underlying causes) in knowledge, attitudes, skills and competencies of Canadian healthcare providers caring for persons with BC or CRC.


A mixed-method approach was employed in this study. Methodological triangulation (qualitative data from semi-structured interviews and quantitative data from an online survey) as well as source triangulation (multiple professions and medical specialties, patients and caregivers) were used to ensure reliability of findings. This study sample (n=238) included 24 family physicians and general practitioners, 48 medical oncologists, 34 oncology surgeons, 48 radiation oncologists, 34 hospital pharmacists, 25 oncology nurses, 10 psychosocial oncologists and 15 patients and caregivers.


Gaps and barriers were identified across the continuum of care for BC and CRC. Source triangulation was particularly valuable in identifying interprofessional challenges such as a lack of collaboration among providers, inconsistencies in communication between patient and provider, and inconsistencies in the timing, format, and content of referrals, which ultimately hinder optimal treatment and management of BC and CRC.


Findings revealed a disconnect amongst providers, that contribute to a non-optimal patient flow through the continuum of care. Results from this study provide not only directions for solutions through continuing education, but also directions on how to assess and address interprofessional issues as part of a more comprehensive needs assessment.

Funding Sources

This study was funded with the support of an independent educational research grant from Sanofi Canada.


France St-Germain is an employee of sanofi Canada.