Multidisciplinary Medical Team Meetings: An Analysis of Collaborative Working with Special Attention to Timing and Teleconferencing
In this paper we describe the process of a multi-disciplinary medical team meeting (MDTM), its functions and operation in colocated and teleconference discussions. Our goal is to identify the elements and mechanics of operation that enhance or threaten the dependability of the MDTM as a “system” and propose technologies and measures to make this system more reliable. In particular, we assess the effect of adding teleconferencing to the MDTM, and identify strengths and vulnerabilities introduced into the system by the addition of teleconferencing technology. We show that, with respect to the system’s external task environment, rhythms of execution of pre-meeting and post-meeting activities are critical for MDTM success and that the extension of the MDTM to wider geographic locations with teleconferencing might disrupt such rhythms thereby posing potential threats to dependability. On the other hand, an analysis of vocalisation patterns demonstrates that despite difficulties related to coordination and awareness in video-mediated communication (evidenced by increased time spent in case discussion, longer turns, decreased turn frequency and near lack of informal exchanges) the overall case discussion structure is unaffected by the addition of teleconferencing technology into proceedings.