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Critical pathways.

Authors
  • Roark, M K
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of healthcare resource management
Publication Date
Jan 01, 1997
Volume
15
Issue
1
Pages
12–15
Identifiers
PMID: 10164677
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A critical Pathway (CP) is a clinical management tool that helps medical care providers coordinate the delivery of patient care for a particular case type or condition. As a guide to usual treatment patterns, a CP gives a view of the "big picture." The CP usually recommends a total treatment regimen. Treatment regimens are formulated through the consensus of a multi-disciplinary collaboration of all those involved in a patient's care. If developed and implemented properly, critical paths can lead to desirable outcomes for the patient and improved operating effectiveness/efficiency for the healthcare facility. Components of CPs often include protocols, algorithms, and clinical practice guidelines. Metrics, bench-marks, compliance, and variances become common terms among members of the healthcare team. Although CPs have gained wide acceptance as inpatient management tools, they are rapidly being sought for outpatient settings as well. This article details the CP process and cites examples of two hospitals that have used CPs to reduce length of stay and cut costs.

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