Notes on Clinical Practice Guidelines and Clinical Pathways

Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) as defined by the Institute of Medicine, is a “systematically developed statement to assist practitioner and patient decisions about appropriate health care for specific clinical circumstances.”

Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline (EBCPG) is clinical practice guideline supported by the best available evidence in the clinical literature.

Clinical practice guidelines are recommendations for clinicians about the care of patients with specific conditions. They should be based upon the best available research evidence and practice experience.

The Institute of Medicine defines clinical practice guidelines as “…statements that include recommendations, intended to optimize patient care, that are informed by a systematic review of evidence and an assessment of the benefits and harms of alternative care options.”

Based on this definition, guidelines have two parts:

●The foundation is a systematic review of the research evidence bearing on a clinical question, focused on the strength of the evidence on which clinical decision-making for that condition is based.

●A set of recommendations, involving both the evidence and value judgments regarding benefits and harms of alternative care options, addressing how patients with that condition should be managed, everything else being equal.

Health-Process-Evidence-based Clinical Practice Guideline (HPEBCPG) is a clinical practice guideline generated based on evidence in the clinical literature (evidence-based), conventional patient management process (process-based) and on World Health Organization concept of health and primary health care approach (health-based).

Clinical / Care Pathways is an interdisciplinary plan of care that outlines the optimal sequencing and timing of interventions and expected outcomes for patients with a particular diagnosis, procedure or symptom.

Clinical Pathways is a multidisciplinary plans of best clinical practice for specified groups of patients with a particular diagnosis that aid the coordination and delivery of high quality care.

Clinical pathways are standardised, evidence-based multidisciplinary management plans, which identify an appropriate sequence of clinical interventions, timeframes, milestones and expected outcomes for an homogenous patient group (Queensland Health Clinical Pathways Board definition 2002).

Clinical pathways aim for greater standardization of treatment regimens and sequencing as well as improved outcomes, from both a quality of life and a clinical outcomes perspective.

A clinical pathway is a printed guideline to usual care provided for a patient having a certain procedure done or a patient who has a certain illness.

  • Multidisciplinary management tool based on evidence-based practice for a specific group of patients with a predictable clinical course, in which the different tasks (interventions) by the professionals involved in the patient care are defined, optimized and sequenced either by hour (ED), day (acute care) or visit (homecare).

Clinical pathway is a description of practices likely to result in favorable outcomes for patients with a particular diagnosis that used prospectively defined resources to minimize cost.


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