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Assessing Quality in Care Pathways

December 16, 2020

More standard processes for selecting appropriate tools to assess quality in care pathways is needed, according to a recent study (Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Nov 20;17[22]:8634. doi:10.3390/ijerph17228634).

Multidisciplinary teams of healthcare professionals develop care pathways based on clinical evidence. Monitoring the quality, structure, process, outcome, and safety indicators within the care pathway is important to identify areas that need improvement.

“Since several tools have been adopted to assess the quality of [care pathways], we decided to conduct an overview of systematic reviews to combine, appraise, and summarize the results of related systematic reviews,” wrote the study authors.

Researchers conducted an overview of systematic reviews according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses. The quality of the reviews was assessed and categorized.

Useful tools for evaluating the quality of care pathways related to the following domains: process (45%), service (27%), clinical (13%), team (10%), and financial (5%). Only 3 of the 9 reviews were of high quality, according to AMSTAR-2.

“This overview shows important insights for the definition of a multiprinciple framework of core domains for assessing the quality of pathways,” wrote the study authors. “The core domains should consider general critical aspects common to all pathways, but it is necessary to define specific domains for specific diseases, fast pathways, and adapting the tool to the cultural and organizational characteristics of the health system of each country.”—Lisa Kuhns

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