Care for a patient with cancer as a project: Management of complex task interdependence in cancer care delivery

Julia R. Trosman, Ruth C. Carlos, Melissa A. Simon, Debra L. Madden, William J. Gradishar, Al B. Benson, Bruce D. Rapkin, Elisa S. Weiss, Ilana F. Gareen, Lynne I. Wagner, Seema A. Khan, Mikele M. Bunce, Art Small, Christine B. Weldon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Cancer care is highly complex and suffers from fragmentation and lack of coordination across provider specialties and clinical domains. As a result, patients often find that they must coordinate care on their own. Coordinated delivery teams may address these challenges and improve quality of cancer care. Task interdependence is a core principle of rigorous teamwork and is essential to addressing the complexity of cancer care, which is highly interdependent across specialties and modalities. We examined challenges faced by a patient with early-stage breast cancer that resulted from difficulties in understanding and managing task interdependence across clinical domains involved in this patient's care. We used team science supported by the project management discipline to discuss how various task interdependence aspects can be recognized, deliberately designed, and systematically managed to prevent care breakdowns. This case highlights how effective task interdependence management facilitated by project management methods could markedly improve the course of a patient's care. This work informs efforts of cancer centers and practices to redesign cancer care delivery through innovative, practical, and patient-centered approaches to management of task interdependence in cancer care. Future patient-reported outcomes research will help to determine optimal ways to engage patients, including those who are medically underserved, in managing task interdependence in their own care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1101-1113
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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