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Molecular Testing in the Community Oncology Setting

Precision Medicine: Strategies for Improving Multidisciplinary Team Communication

Cancer programs in the community continue to embrace the era of biomarker-driven medicine and advances that enable providers to tailor therapies based on specific tumor characteristics. At the same time, the processes for diagnostics and developing care plans are becoming increasingly complex—requiring involvement of a broader range of disciplines. Thus, clearly established policies, procedures, and communication pathways are important to optimizing molecular testing. At its most basic level, molecular testing has several key steps and involves interdisciplinary providers including pathologists, surgeons, medical oncologists; therefore communication pathways are critical to ensure the full benefit of testing.

Communication Assessment in Action

In 2015, ACCC began an initiative exploring the role communication plays in the success of molecular testing programs in the community cancer care setting – specifically how communication impacts the effectiveness of molecular testing for breast and lung cancer.

In a series of four focus groups, multidisciplinary team members at ACCC member programs discussed the current state of their breast and NSCLC molecular testing programs. Drawing on findings from these discussions, ACCC developed an easy-to-use assessment tool that cancer programs can use to evaluate their molecular testing program. Completing the assessment allows cancer programs to identify potential gaps and foster team communication in three key areas:

  • patient identification
  • diagnosis, test selection, tissue preparation
  • test results

In three simple steps, cancer programs can use this assessment as a first step to improving multidisciplinary team communication around molecular testing for breast and lung cancer.

Step 1.

Complete the assessment. If there are questions you are unsure of, we encourage you to reach out to your multidisciplinary team for answers. The collaborative, combined input from members of your team will reveal different perspectives around key processes.

Step 2.

Submit email for summary. The tool includes a link to request your assessment report. ACCC will email your assessment summary along with some additional discussion questions designed to foster improved team communication around specific aspects of molecular biomarker testing for breast cancer and NSCLC.

Step 3.

Take action. Use the summary and follow-up questions to facilitate conversation with members of your molecular testing team to further evaluate your current processes to identify potential areas to increase or improve communication. Once you have identified areas of need, please reach back out to ACCC for resources to support your team, enhance communication, and/or implement a process improvement initiative.


More About this Project

ACCC launched this project to explore strategies for improving multidisciplinary team communication around molecular testing – with specific attention to how communication impacts the effectiveness of molecular testing for breast and lung cancer. This initiative focuses on:

Exploring the Role of Communication

Strategies for Improving Cancer Care Team CommunicationWith the guidance of an expert Advisory Committee, ACCC compiled an annotated bibliography identifying empiric research, literature reviews, and literature-based opinion pieces that clarify important aspects of communication surrounding molecular testing for both breast and lung cancer.


Focus Group Participants

For this project, ACCC conducted a series of four focus groups in which ACCC Cancer Program members discusssed their molecular testing programs. Their insights helped shape assessment tool developed for this project. ACCC thanks the following programs for focus group participation:

For more information or questions about this project, please contact ACCC Provider Education.

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