Survey on paediatric tumour boards in Europe: current situation and results from the ExPo-r-Net project
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Under the ExPO-r-NeT project (European Expert Paediatric Oncology Reference Network for Diagnostics and Treatment), we aimed to identify paediatric oncology tumour boards in Europe to investigate the kind of technologies and logistics that are in place in different countries and to explore current differences between regions.
A 20-question survey regarding several features of tumor boards was designed. Data collected included infrastructure, organization, and clinical decision-making information from the centres. The survey was distributed to the National Paediatric Haematology and Oncology Societies that forwarded the survey to the sites. For comparative analysis, respondents were grouped into four geographical regions.
The questionnaire was distributed amongst 30 countries. Response was obtained from 23 (77%) that altogether have 212 paediatric oncology treating centres. A total of 121 institutions answered (57%). Ninety-one percent of the centres hold multidisciplinary boards; however, international second consultations are performed in 36% and only 15% participate on virtual tumor boards. Videoconferencing facilities and standard operational procedures (SOPs) are available in 49 and 43% of the centres, respectively. There were statistically significant differences between European regions concerning meeting infrastructure and organization/logistics: specific room, projecting equipment, access to medical records, videoconferencing facilities, and existence of SOPs.
Paediatric tumor boards are a common feature in Europe. To reduce inequalities and have equal access to healthcare, a virtual network is needed. Important differences on the functioning and access to technology between regions in Europe have been observed and need to be addressed.
KeywordsPaediatric cancer Multidisciplinary care Virtual tumour boards European survey European reference networks
We would like to thank all paediatric oncologists for the collaboration and response to the questionnaire, including P Kearns, G Bisogno, J Michon, D Valteau-Couanet, J Nicholson, C Petersen, A Pourtsidis, G Vassal, and M Schrappe. This work was supported the project Expo-r-Net which has received funding from the European Union in the framework of the Health Programme (2008–2013) Grant agreement 2013 12 07.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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