26 September 2023

OPTIMOC stands for “optimization of the multidisciplinary oncology consultation (MOC) at Belgian oncology departments”. OPTIMOC is a research project funded by All.Can Belgium that aims to enhance patient-centred treatment decision-making for cancer patients.

    Multidisciplinary team meetings (MDTMs) are a well-established structure for team-based treatment decision-making in oncological healthcare worldwide. In Belgium, the “multidisciplinary oncology consult” (MOC) exists as a specific, legally regulated and mandatory type of MDTM. The MOC is legally described as a single consultation per individual patient. Because of organizational convenience these are clustered in a collective meeting for several patients at stake, generally per tumor group. These meetings are typically called as “MOC-meetings” at Belgian oncology departments.

    Treatment decision-making process in healthcare is shifting from a mere biomedical focused model to a patient-centred approach in which patients’ needs, values and preferences are equally put forward alongside the pure medical information. Especially in oncology, a personalized approach is essential since treatments might have a considerable impact on patients’ quality of life, in most cases for a prolonged period of time.

    Previous evidence shows that a MOC, however, is subject to time pressure, a pattern of unequal participation and suboptimal sharing of information between the medical and non-medical disciplines, which indirectly affects the decision-making processes. It becomes clear that here is an urgent need to optimize the current MOC in terms of

    1. interdisciplinarity so that the expertise and input of different medical as well as non-medical disciplines are equally valued;
    2. patient centeredness to guarantee individualized treatment decisions instead of a disease (or tumor) oriented decision

    Hence, this project involves the development of an intervention to optimize collaborative treatment decision, tailored to the specific context of MOC-meetings at Belgian oncology departments with the overarching objective of optimizing the current work processes during the MOC to enhance patient-centred decision-making.

    The OPTIMOC project is a practice-oriented research project that with the aim to test the feasibility of implementing a complex intervention in the MOC’s of 5 Belgian hospitals by examining the acceptability and suitability of the intervention for the Belgian MOC context. This is the first time that the complex intervention for MOC’s is tested in the Belgian context.

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