Multidisciplinary orthopaedic oncology conferences are important in developing the treatment plan for patients with suspected orthopaedic bone and soft tissue tumors, involving physicians from several services. Past studies have shown the clinical value of these conferences; however, the impact of radiology input on the management plan and time cost for radiology to staff these conferences has not been fully studied.
(1) Does radiology input at multidisciplinary conference help guide clinical management and improve clinician confidence? (2) What is the time cost of radiology input for a multidisciplinary conference?
This prospective study was conducted from October 2020 to March 2022 at a tertiary academic center with a sarcoma center. A single data questionnaire for each patient was sent to one of three treating orthopaedic oncologists with 41, 19, and 5 years of experience after radiology discussion at a weekly multidisciplinary conference. A data questionnaire was completed by the treating orthopaedic oncologist for 48% (322 of 672) of patients, which refers to the proportion of those three oncologists’ patients for which survey data were captured. A musculoskeletal radiology fellow and musculoskeletal fellowship–trained radiology attending physician provided radiology input at each multidisciplinary conference. The clinical plan (leave alone, follow-up imaging, follow-up clinically, recommend different imaging test, core needle biopsy, surgical excision or biopsy or fixation, or other) and change in clinical confidence before and after radiology input were documented. A second weekly data questionnaire was sent to the radiology fellow to estimate the time cost of radiology input for the multidisciplinary conference.
In 29% (93 of 322) of patients, there was a change in the clinical plan after radiology input. Biopsy was canceled in 30% (24 of 80) of patients for whom biopsy was initially planned, and surgical excision was canceled in 24% (17 of 72) of patients in whom surgical excision was initially planned. In 21% (68 of 322) of patients, there were unreported imaging findings that affected clinical management; 13% (43 of 322) of patients had a missed finding, and 8% (25 of 322) of patients had imaging findings that were interpreted incorrectly. For confidence in the final treatment plan, 78% (251 of 322) of patients had an increase in clinical confidence by their treating orthopaedic oncologist after the multidisciplinary conference. Radiology fellows and attendings spent a mean of 4.2 and 1.5 hours, respectively, reviewing and presenting at a multidisciplinary conference each week. The annual combined prorated time cost for the radiology attending and fellow was estimated at USD 24,310 based on national median salary data for attendings and internal salary data for fellows.
In a study taken at one tertiary-care oncology program, input from radiology attendings and fellows in the setting of a multidisciplinary conference helped to guide the final treatment plan, reduce procedures, and improve clinician confidence in the final treatment plan, at an annual time cost of USD 24,310.
Multidisciplinary orthopaedic oncology conferences can lead to changes in management plans, and the time cost to the radiologists should be budgeted for by the radiology department or parent institution.