Care Paths Set Out Decisions and Services
Care path, clinical path, clinical pathway, continuum of care. These terms mean the same thing: a series of health care decisions and services that occur in a logical, optimal sequence for treating a medical condition.
Care paths can be intricately illustrated in a care map showing the sequence of steps that occur as decisions are made and services are provided.
ABJHI is a recognized leader in designing care paths for bone and joint patients. Our care paths are evidence-based and integrated.
An evidence-based care path reflects the best evidence available on all practices and protocols.
An integrated care path brings together different health care professionals to work in a multidisciplinary partnership with the patient firmly at the centre, rather than handing off the patient from one care provider to the next. Integrated care is critical in bone and joint medicine because most disorders are chronic, meaning they require ongoing treatment that involves different medical professionals. These could include a family doctor, specialist, physiotherapist, pharmacist, nurse, chiropractor and others.
What a Care Path Means for the Patient
A care path is critical to the patient. It sets out the decisions that will be made about the patient’s care, the services the patient will receive, and the medical professionals who will deliver the services. In hip and knee replacement, for example, the care path extends across:
- Referral by a family doctor to a specialist;
- consultation with the specialist;
- decision on surgery or nonsurgical treatment;
- treatment plan for nonsurgical patients;
- optimization of surgical patients;
- recovery in hospital; and
- rehabilitation in the community.
The decisions and services associated with all of these major steps in the hip and knee care path are based on the best evidence available. The evidence is reviewed every year by ABJHI and the care path is updated by an expert panel of clinicians to reflect the latest evidence.
The Integrated Care Path for Hip and Knee Replacements
ABJHI is best known for its work on designing an evidence-based integrated care path for hip and knee replacements. The hip and knee integrated care path was tested in a 12-month Alberta pilot in 2005-06. One of the most extensive health services delivery studies ever undertaken in North America, the pilot involved 1,125 patients who followed the new care path for their hip or knee replacement and 513 who followed conventional care.
Those who followed the new care path had a significantly shorter wait for consultation and for surgery, were home from hospital sooner, and had greater improvement in general health, less pain and better ability to perform normal daily activities.
The hip and knee integrated care path is now the standard of care in Alberta. It has also served as a model for care paths in other areas of medicine and in other areas of Canada.
Read the Reports on the Hip and Knee Replacement Care Path
Scientific Evaluation Report on the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Pilot, including patient results at three months after surgery.
At-a-glance summary of the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Pilot, including patient results at three months after surgery.
At-a-glance summary of the Alberta Hip and Knee Replacement Pilot, including patient results at 12 months after surgery.Share: