National Cancer Institute (NCI)-American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Teams in Cancer Care Delivery

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) and the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) launched the Teams in Cancer Care Delivery project in response to the 2013 report from the Institute of Medicine, “Delivering high-quality cancer care: Charting a new course for a system in crisisExternal Web Site Policy.” Prompted by this report’s call to actions and incentives from the Affordable Care Act to promote care coordination and teamwork, the NCI and ASCO formed a collaboration to explore team-based cancer care. In October 2014, The NCI-ASCO Teams in Cancer Care project brought together clinicians, team scientists, and patient advocates to form writing groups. These groups prepared case study manuscripts examining barriers and facilitators to effective teamwork in clinical practice and assessing the value of teams across the cancer care continuum.

The NCI-ASCO partnership hosted a Teams in Cancer Care Delivery WorkshopExternal Web Site Policy in February 2016 and published a special series of papers in the November 2016 issue of the Journal of Oncology PracticeExternal Web Site Policy. A second special series published in January 2023External Web Site Policy provided an update on the state of the science and practice of teamwork in cancer care delivery. Overall, these collaborative activities recognize the importance and promise of effective healthcare teams for delivering high quality cancer care across the care continuum.

To learn more about the project, please visit the ASCO websiteExternal Web Site Policy or contact Veronica Chollette or Sallie Weaver.

View/download an assessment (PDF, 334 KB) of the Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) Grants focused on teamwork in healthcare delivery after publication of the 2016 Oncology Practice Special Series.

Why Team-based Cancer Care?

Physicians, their staff, and patients struggle with a shrinking cancer care workforce. The challenge of keeping up with the growing complexity of cancer care delivery, changing guidelines, and the hope of providing evidence-based supportive care is what the Institute of Medicine (IOM) calls a "system in crisis."1 Oncologists and family physicians have reported high levels of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (burnout) in recent surveys,2 and the problem is likely to increase. The relative supply of oncologists and primary care physicians is decreasing as the numbers of people at risk, people newly diagnosed with cancer, and long-term cancer survivors are increasing.3 The IOM suggests that teams and teamwork are a critical part of the solution to workforce shortages and the complexity of cancer care delivery.1,4

February 2016 Workshop

The NCI-ASCO Teams in Cancer Care Delivery Workshop was held on February 25, 2016 in conjunction with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Quality Symposium. The goal of the workshop and corresponding journal supplement is to expand the scientific base of health care teams in cancer care. Teams are defined as two or more people who interact dynamically, interdependently, and adaptively to achieve a common valued goal. To reduce cancer morbidity and mortality, primary care, medical oncology groups (e.g., surgical and radiation), their respective staff, and patients need to share information, responsibility, and the tasks of cancer care across the cancer care continuum, from screening through end-of-life care.

Journal of Oncology Practice Special Series on Teams in Cancer Care, 2016 & 2023

The November 2016 issue of the Journal of Oncology Practice features 19 papers and four commentaries that address ways to enhance team-based oncology care. Manuscripts were written by interdisciplinary groups of authors that included clinicians, researchers, and patient advocates and they discuss both real and hypothetical case studies, models of care, and the value of teams in care. This collaboration between the National Cancer Institute and ASCO aimed to address barriers and facilitators in effective teamwork, leading to increased interest in team-based care.

In a seven-year follow-up to the 2016 series, a second special series on teams in cancer care was published in the January 2023 issues of JCO Oncology Practice. The manuscripts in the 2023 special series reflect the evolving landscape of cancer care and the need for optimized team-based approaches. This issue features peer-reviewed manuscripts focused on advancements in team-based care since 2016, discussing key areas such as teams of teams, equity, nonphysician perspectives, and technology. These series contribute to the literature showcasing how teamwork enhances healthcare delivery.

For access to all papers from the special series, please visit the JCO Oncology Practice websiteExternal Web Site Policy.


  1. Committee on Improving the Quality of Cancer Care: Addressing the Challenges of an Aging Population, Board on Health Care Services, Institute of Medicine; Levit L, Balogh E, Nass S, Ganz PA, editors. Delivering High-Quality Cancer Care: Charting a New Course for a System in Crisis. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2013 Dec 27. [View Abstract]External Web Site Policy
  2. Shanafelt TD, Boone S, Tan L, Dyrbye LN, Sotile W, Satele D, West CP, Sloan J, Oreskovich MR. Burnout and satisfaction with work-life balance among US physicians relative to the general US population. Arch Intern Med 2012 Oct 8;172(18):1377-85. [View Abstract]External Web Site Policy
  3. Yang W, Williams JH, Hogan PF, Bruinooge SS, Rodriguez GI, Kosty MP, Bajorin DF, Hanley A, Muchow A, McMillan N, Goldstein M. Projected supply of and demand for oncologists and radiation oncologists through 2025: an aging, better-insured population will result in shortage. J Oncol Pract 2014 Jan;10(1):39-45. doi: 10.1200/JOP.2013.001319. [View Abstract]External Web Site Policy
  4. Wynia MK, Von Kohorn I, Mitchell PH. Challenges at the intersection of team-based and patient-centered health care: insights from an IOM working group. JAMA 2012 Oct 3;308(13):1327-8. [Look up in PubMed]External Web Site Policy
Last Updated: 22 Apr, 2024