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Overview on the target population and methods used in care pathway projects (2020 – 2021)

The aim of this study is to evaluate the state-of-art of the most recent CP research, to identify knowledge sharing opportunities for researchers, practitioners, scientific societies, and policy makers. The rationale for the study is that there is no current overview for what patient groups care pathways are developed, nor how care pathways are studied and how evaluation is performed. Below you will find the abstract.

Background There is evidence that the efficiency and effectiveness of care processes can be improved in all countries. Care pathways (CPs) are proposed as a method to improve the quality of care by reducing variation. During the last decades, CPs have been intensively used in practice. The objective of this study is to examine the study designs for investigating CPs, for which pathologies CPs are used and what the reported indicators to measure the impact of CPs are.

Methods A narrative review of the literature published from 2015 to 2019 was performed.

Results We identified 286 studies, of which 207 evaluated the impact of CPs, 33 were review articles, 29 studies described the development of a CP, 12 were study protocols and 5 opinion papers. The most frequently reported study design for studying the impact of a CP is pre-posttest (n = 82), followed by cross-sectional studies (n = 50). Oncology, cardiovascular disease and abdominal surgery are the domains with the highest numbers of studies evaluating the impact of CPs. Financial (n = 86), process (n = 76) and clinical indicators (n = 74) are the most frequently reported indicators while service (n = 12) and team indicators (n = 6) are less reported.

Conclusions Based on the relative low number of identified studies compared with the number of CP projects in organisations, we conclude that the CP knowledge is not only found in the literature. We, therefore, argue that (inter)national scientific societies should not only focus on searching and spreading evidence on the content of care but also enhance their knowledge sharing initiatives on the organisation of care processes.

Academic output

Seys, D., Coeckelberghs, E., Sermeus, W., Van Zelm, R., Panella, M., Babu Payedimarri, A., & Vanhaecht, K. (2021). Overview on the target population and methods used in care pathway projects: A narrative review. International Journal of Clinical Practice, e14565.