Pathway facilitator tools


In this section you will find methods and tools you can use for development, implementation and evaluation of care pathways. Although there are many quality improvement tools (e.g. flowcharts, Ishikawa diagram, 5 times why) already published, we present a number of tools and methods developed specifically for care pathway projects. Each tool or method will be presented, and a reference to a paper with background information will be provided.

This section starts with the 7-phase method for development, implementation and evaluation of care pathways, as this provides the framework for the other tools.

7-phase method for development, implementation and evaluation of care pathways

The 7-phase method was developed by an international team of researchers, clinicians and managers, to support multidisciplinary teams in the development, implementation, evaluation and continuous monitoring of care pathways. It can be used in different health care settings, within and across organizations.

The method consists of seven consecutive phases, although it is always possible to return to a previous phase. It should serve as a guideline to support teams when developing and implementing care pathways.

Each of the seven phases has a specific contribution to the development, implementation and monitoring of a well-organized care process, but it is the combined action between the phases which forms a whole, greater than the sum of its parts.

1) Screening phase – is a care pathway the right tool for the problem we need to solve; who will be the owner of the project / care pathway?

2) Project management phase – do we have the right people, time, budget to start a project; what are our goals?

3) Diagnostic and objectification phase – what is our current practice? Based on four perspectives: own organization & team, vision of patient & family, available evidence & legislation, and external partners

4) Development phase – design and development of the care pathway, based on input from previous phases.

5) Implementation phase – piloting and adjusting the care pathway, followed by implementation for daily use

6) Evaluation phase – evaluation of the care pathway: effect, usability and compliance to the care pathway

7) Continuous follow-up phase – keeping the pathway alive by monitoring, adjusting the pathway

Vanhaecht, K., Van Gerven, E., Deneckere, S., Lodewijckx, C., Janssen, I., Van Zelm, R., … & Sermeus, W. (2012). The 7-phase method to design, implement and evaluate care pathways. International Journal of Person Centered Medicine, 2(3), 341-351.