Multidisciplinary Physician Communication Scale

The Multidisciplinary Physician Communication Scale measures the availability of other physicians for consult within the responding physician’s primary practice. Responses are given on a five-point Likert scale indicating the share of patients for whom the item applies where 1 is “Few or almost none”, 3 is “About half”, and 5 is “Almost all”. The scale was originally drafted for use with oncologists but the individual items could be adapted to ask about any physician.

Multidisciplinary Physician Communication Scale


Scoring instructions
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All questions use a five-point Likert scale with endpoints as marked. Response values increase left to right (1-5).  Evaluate items for each physician type independently or average the sum score of the responses across the scale items; a higher score indicates more multidisciplinary communication.

Scale validation:

We evaluated the validity of this measure by comparing surgeons’ responses to the scale to their patients’ report of their experiences. We surveyed 2,268 early-stage breast cancer patients from the Los Angeles and Detroit Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Registries in 2005-2007.  An attending surgeon was identified for 98.9% of the patient sample using information from patient report, pathology reports, and SEER. We surveyed a total of 318 surgeons.  To compare surgeon and patient responses to the scale, we created a dataset containing information from patient surveys that was matched and merged to attending surgeon respondents.

Surgeon report of more multidisciplinary physician communication was strongly and positively correlated with patient report of consulting these physicians prior to surgery. For example, only 22.9% of patients consulted with a radiation oncologist before surgery in practices where surgeons reported that generally they have a pre-operative consult with radiation oncologists for few or none of their patients; while 71.9% of patients reported a consult with a radiation oncologist prior to surgery in practices where surgeons reported that they generally have a pre-operative consult with a radiation oncologist for more than half of their patients.

To cite this instrument, please use the following reference:

Katz SJ, Morrow M, Hawley ST, Griggs JJ, Jagsi R, Hamilton AS, Graff JJ, Friese CR, Hofer TP. Coordinating cancer care: Patient and practice management processes among surgeons who treat breast cancer. Med Care. 2010;48(1):45-51.