Resolving rivalries and realigning goals: Challenges of clinical and research multiteam systems

David E. Gerber, Torsten Reimer, Erin L. Williams, Mary Gill, Laurin Loudat Priddy, Deidi Bergestuen, Joan H. Schiller, Haskell Kirkpatrick, Simon J Craddock Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This article describes the care processes for a 64-year-old man with newly diagnosed advanced non-small-cell lung cancer who was enrolled in a first-line clinical trial of a new immunotherapy regimen. The case highlights the concept of multiteam systems in cancer clinical research and clinical care. Because clinical research represents a highly dynamic entity-with studies frequently opening, closing, and undergoing modifications-concerted efforts of multiple teams are needed to respond to these changes while continuing to provide consistent, high-level careand timely, accurate clinical data. The case illustrates typical challenges of multiteam care processes. Compared with clinical tasks that are routinely performed by single teams, multiple-team care greatly increases the demands for communication, collaboration, cohesion, and coordination among team members. As the case illustrates, the described research team and clinical team are separated, resulting in suboptimal function. Individual team members interact predominantly with members of their own team. A considerable number of team members lack regular interaction with anyone outside their team. Accompanying this separation, the teams enact rivalries that impede collaboration. The teams have misaligned goals and competing priorities that create competition. Collective identity and cohesion across the two teams are low. Research team and clinical team members have limited knowledge of the roles and work of individuals outside their team. Recommendations to increase trust and collaboration are provided. Clinical providers and researchers may incorporate these themes into development and evaluation of multiteam systems, multidisciplinary teams, and cross-functional teams within their own institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1020-1028
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of oncology practice
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Oncology(nursing)
  • Health Policy


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