13 October 2020
KWF grant for project consortium

Improving personalized treatment in oncology

The Dutch Cancer Society (KWF) awarded a grant (€950.000) to LUMC, MUMC+/CAPHRI, Zuyderland and UMCG for the research project ‘Improving personalized treatment in oncology. Towards shared decisions based on integrated information regarding treatment options, health status and patient preferences’.

The introduction of decision-making in multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) in oncology has led to a significant improvement in the quality of care. Practical experience and recent studies show that health care providers are increasingly interested "to look at the person behind the patient". However, it turns out to be difficult to tailor treatment recommendations to individual patients’ profiles and needs, as they are predominantly determined in the provider-only MDT meetings, where time is often lacking for in-depth analysis of general health status and the goals and preferences of the individual patient. Recommendations of the MDT are often based on medical-technical information only and guideline-based.  Recent research from the Dutch Federation of Cancer Patient Organizations (NFK) shows that about half of the patients miss attention to what they consider important in daily life. The same NFK study indicates that 80% of patients have a need to 'decide together', but they experience this insufficiently

The project members have, together with stakeholders, developed an Integrated Oncology Decision-making Model (IODM) aimed at generating personalized treatment plans. In the IODM, information regarding three domains (disease-specific treatment options, health status, and patient goals and preferences), is collected by the professionals. Next, this information is discussed with the patient and his relatives in order to jointly decide on an appropriate individualized treatment plan. Goal of the research project is to refine and implement the IODM through co-creation, based on a participatory needs and barriers analysis among all stakeholders (patients, their significant others, patient representatives, general practitioners, nurses, medical specialists). Finally, the effect of the IODM on the decision-making process and outcomes will be assessed.

For this project several parties have joined forces, such as Leiden University Medical Center, Maastricht UMC+/CAPHRI, University Medical Center Groningen, Zuyderland Medical Center, NFK and many other stakeholders. Principal investigator within MUMC+/CAPHRI is prof. Trudy van der Weijden (RL Promoting Health and Personalised Care).