Care Pathway

integrated care pathway.jpg


Care Pathways is a term that is interchangeable with clinical pathways, critical pathways, care maps or anticipated recovery pathways.(Care pathway) This is a tool used by healthcare organizations to create a care plan with influences from evidence based practices based on similar patients, and similar time consistencies.

Included in the care pathways are:

- Goals and key elements based on evidence based practices, patient specific goals and patient information.
- Communication plan involving the care team as well as the patient and family members.
- The care process and the roles and responsibilities of team members and different aspects needed of each team member and the continuing care through the family.
- Documentation of data and resources, monitoring of patient and evaluation of the process and progress of the patient to determine outcomes.

The Standards used to define care pathways and ensure they are what's best for the patient meet these standards(Care pathway):

- Multidisciplinary
- Single Documentation
- Use exception reporting
- Variance analysis
- Patient/user involvement
- Monitoring of utilization
- Cross boundaries
- Standard Format
- Outcome oriented
- Built in audit
- Evidence based


Care pathways are used to help define a routine for patients, healthcare organizations and families to proceed with care for a patient. This includes all of the parties listed above to have specific responsibilities and duties to help the patient receive the best quality of care and to create the best outcome in a defined period of time. This relates to healthcare informatics by providing pathways healthcare organizations use with patients to provide care.

care pathway flowchart.png

Web resources

Each healthcare organization has different Care pathway standards and they are patient specific to provide the best quality of care. Some examples of Care Pathways can be seen in the links below.



Related terminology

Clinical pathway
Care Map
Critical pathway
Anticipated recovery pathway