Implementation of care pathways within the University Clinic for Companion Animal Health
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Objective: A care pathway is a protocol in which the organization of care for a particular condition is described. By this methodology, it can be made sure that every patient gets the same care for one condition in an efficient manner within the possibilities of the clinic. The aim of this study is to create a format that can be used for the development and implementation of care pathways within the UKG. This format for the UKG is derived from a literature review on different formats for care pathways used in human medicine. The format can be applied for designing, implementing, evaluating, and adjusting a care pathway. This study specifies if this format can be a model for the development of other care pathways in the future. This is done by evaluating and reviewing the CPSS care pathway whether or not it has complied to the format of the UKG. Review: Six articles discussing care pathways are used to evaluate different formats. The 7-phase method seems to be the best basis for developing a format for the UKG. The 7-phase method is a general model and further interpretation, adjustments, and elaboration need to be done by the organization itself. The 7-phase method is not a standing order that should be used from phase one to seven. It is a guideline with a self-regulatory and innovative character. Methods: A schematic model is derived from the 7-phase method, but the 7-phase method remains the guiding principle. By analysis of the CPSS pathway documents, it is examined whether and to what extent each phase is applied in the CPSS care pathway. By defining the elements of the 7-phase method a care pathway for the UKG, the areas for improvement can be determined. Results: There are development opportunities in the optimization of the CPSS care pathway by use of the CPSET, a feedback system, a reporting system, an evaluation model, a flowchart and visible scientific substantiation. Conclusion: A format represents the overall outlines. Each institution will have to find its own method in the design, use and adjustment of a care pathway that suits its organization. The format provides a handle for systematically guiding the development, implementation, evaluation and continuous follow-up of a care pathway. Use of the format will lead to an improvement in the quality of the care process. To verify the format, further research is needed on applicability in the development and implementation of a new care pathway for the UKG.