Research Article: Developing a Multidisciplinary Team for Disorders of Sex Development: Planning, Implementation, and Operation Tools for Care Providers

Date Published: June 25, 2012

Publisher: Hindawi Publishing Corporation

Author(s): Mary Elizabeth Moran, Katrina Karkazis.


In the treatment of patients with disorders of sex development (DSD), multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) represent a new standard of care. While DSDs are too complex for care to be delivered effectively without specialized team management, these conditions are often considered to be too rare for their medical management to be a hospital priority. Many specialists involved in DSD care want to create a clinic or team, but there is no available guidance that bridges the gap between a group of like-minded DSD providers who want to improve care and the formation of a functional MDT. This is an important dilemma, and one with serious implications for the future of DSD care. If a network of multidisciplinary DSD teams is to be a reality, those directly involved in DSD care must be given the necessary program planning and team implementation tools. This paper offers a protocol and set of tools to meet this need. We present a 6-step process to team formation, and a sample set of tools that can be used to guide, develop, and evaluate a team throughout the course of its operation.

Partial Text

In the treatment of complex conditions, multidisciplinary teams (MDTs) are increasingly recognized as a best practice in health care delivery [1, 2], with the goal of improving patient satisfaction and outcomes, enhancing the quality of clinical care, and supporting cost containment at the organizational level [3]. In the treatment of children with Disorders of Sex Development (DSD), MDTs represent a new standard of care [4–6], having been shown to provide improved support and care for children and their families [7, 8].

The following section proposes a protocol for DSD MDT development by outlining six steps to team formation: (1) identify and assemble interested team members, (2) assess team capacity, (3) assess resources, (4) interview team members, (5) analyze interview responses, and (6) develop tools and report findings.

A gap exists between the need for comprehensive multidisciplinary DSD teams, and the tools provided to those directly involved in DSD care to plan and implement MDTs. As a new era of medical management emerges that demands collaborative and whole-systems treatment for these complex conditions and the families affected by them, the medical community stands in a unique window of opportunity to develop the next standard of DSD care. The process proposed by the above model creates the foundation for long-term success and the achievement of articulated outcomes for patients.