Dr. Hidehisa Soejima, president of the Japanese Society on Clinical Pathways, invited Prof. Kris Vanhaecht, secretary general of E-P-A, to give the key note lecture during the 100th Care Pathway Conference in the Saiseikai Kumamoto Hospital in Japan. E-P-A and the Japanese Society have a long-lasting partnership and have been sharing knowledge during E-P-A summer schools, masterclasses and 7 years ago, also our president Prof. Panella already was invited to Japan.
Kris had the opportunity to visit the Saiseikai Kumamoto Hospital and meet the Total Quality Management department and Care Pathway team. Dr. Soejima presented the new ICT support system for Care Pathways that was recently updated and that can both support the organization of the care process and provide online state of the art feedback to the clinicians and managers. Not only length of stay and cost data are included in the feedback loop but also data on the variance tracking. Based on this information the daily organization of the care process and the care pathway templates can be updated and revised. During the weekly Total Quality Management team meeting, the data are discussed and improvement projects are launched.
It was interesting to see that this hospital which is accredited by the Joint Commission International included the care pathway projects as strategic pillars in the overall quality improvement system. It was surprising for Kris to see that for example the compliance to the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist was 100%, not the type of result we see in other countries or hospitals. When Kris asked how this is possible, the answer was very clear: “Rule number one in Japan is: You break no rules!”.
More than 300 people participated to the 100th Care Pathway Conference in the Kumamoto Hospital. More than 170 people came from all over Japan to participate to this meeting. Dr. Machida, Vice President of the Kumamoto Hospital and alumni of the E-P-A masterclass, chaired this conference. Dr. Soejima presented the relation between working with Care Pathways and
the leadership strategies and pros & cons of the Japanese culture. After these presentations a multidisciplinary team presented their care pathway for hip fracture. Seven team members each presented their role in this pathway and all of these mini-presentations were supported with up to date data on their improvement (kaizen) cycles. As last speaker of the day, Kris presented his experience and view on the role of care pathways in hospital management and the challenges for the future regarding the relation between pathways and outcome indicators.
E-P-A hereby thanks the Japanese Society for the ongoing friendship and look forward to future opportunities to share knowledge and expertise.