Not everyone wants to assume the role of team leader, but he encourages colleagues to become involved as participants in a multidisciplinary team for managing patients with skin cancer.
“If you do not want to be the coordinator, you can still reach out to other specialists and let them know what you can do as part of a team,” Dr. Bowman says.
Dermatologists who are surgically oriented may choose to focus on primary treatment of the tumor, risk stratification, and determination of the patient’s need for further care and surveillance.
Dermatologists who are not surgically oriented can also contribute to a multidisciplinary team through follow-up skin checks or evaluation of patients for cutaneous manifestations, side effects of radiation, or reactions to oncology medications.
Building a team
For dermatologists planning to develop or join a multidisciplinary team, it is important to review the skill sets of the other physicians, “because the care they provide reflects on you.” Consideration should also be given to each physician’s attitudes and philosophy about collaboration.
“Their desire to be part of a team should be driven by the idea that it will serve patients’ best interests and not because they see it as a good marketing tool for their practice. In addition, they should recognize that there is value in what you and other members of the team do,” he says.
Dr. Bowman also advises patience when building a team. “If it was easy to become involved in a collaborative team for managing patients with skin cancer, then all dermatologists would do it. Instead, it takes time to develop a network and to find the right group of collaborators. Speaking from experience, however, it is time well spent.”