Neil R. Sharma, MD, knows how difficult treatment can be for cancer patients and their loved ones. For this reason, he and his colleagues at Parkview developed a multidisciplinary health care model for their Cancer Institute. You can learn more about this unique patient treatment and care approach here.
What Is Multidisciplinary Care?
In the medical field, multidisciplinary care refers to treating the whole patient rather than only treating the disease. Hospitals often focus on treating only the physical symptoms of a disease while overlooking the emotional and mental health consequences of enduring a chronic illness. Multidisciplinary care works to avoid this by having multiple professionals consult the patient to meet all of their needs. There are many benefits associated with this approach, including:
- Fewer obstacles to arranging treatment after diagnosis
- Better patient outcomes in terms of fully treating the disease
- Greater patient satisfaction
- Better coordination and communication among medical professionals
- An opportunity for “true subspecialization” where interventional pulmonologists, oncologic focused urologists, breast surgeons, interventional GI endoscopists, hematologists, single tumor focused oncologists, and other medical and surgical specialists can improve their knowledge, develop expertise, and focus on “disease site” or cancer-specific care. As cancer care becomes more complex, this is crucial to improved outcomes.
- Enhanced resources and educational opportunities for medical professionals
In addition to better outcomes, this multidisciplinary approach allows patients and their caretakers to avoid trips to multiple facilities, which is incredibly taxing to those undergoing cancer treatment.
Care Team Model
The approach that Neil R. Sharma MD uses to treat cancer patients includes a care team model. Each care team consists of doctors and other specialists focusing on a particular type of cancer. These include, but are not limited to:
- Skin cancers: such as melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma
- Gynecologic cancers: including cervical cancer, ovarian cancer, endometrial and fallopian tube cancer
- Lung cancers: including mesothelioma and small cell lung cancer
- Orthopedic cancers: such as bone sarcoma and soft tissue sarcoma
- GI cancers: colon, stomach, esophagus, liver, pancreas, bile duct, and more.
In addition to these specialties, there is a group dedicated to providing palliative care. The palliative care team ensures that cancer patients are not in too much pain, acquire the proper medications, and receive emotional support during this trying time. They also help patients, and their loved ones better manage the side effects of chemotherapy, which can include nausea, tiredness, and breathing problems.
Consider receiving multidisciplinary care if you or a loved one are dealing with a chronic illness.
Neil R. Sharma MD Bio
Dr. Sharma is President of Parkview Health in Fort Wayne, Indiana, where he specializes in oncology and endoscopy. Dr. Sharma obtained a medical degree from the Medical College of Virginia following a residency and then fellowship at the University of South Florida & H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute. He pursued additional fellowship training in interventional endoscopy with research focus on esophageal and pancreatic cancers at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Neil R. Sharma, MD, is the author of many professional and research publications. He takes every opportunity to mentor and speak with others about topics in the medical and healthcare fields, including by serving on the Indiana state board for the American Cancer Society.