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Enhanced recovery clinical pathway – Good documentation is essential

2010 July 8
by webmaster

An enhanced recovery pathway defines not only the optimal care process that a patient should follow, but also the exact sequencing and timing of these interventions. The accurate documentation and recording of enhanced recovery pathways is therefore crucial, and requires a pathway document which correlates exactly to the enhanced recovery process within your hospital.

In our experience, a well designed pathway document is an essential tool for successfully co-ordinating, auditing, and continuously improving an enhanced recovery pathway.

Conversely, those units who introduce an enhanced recovery pathway without redesigning their paperwork will fail to deliver the pathway accurately every time. Without a multi-disciplinary plan of care which mirrors the planned clinical interventions there will be no means of co-ordinating, monitoring, reviewing or auditing care processes and outcomes. The enhanced recovery pathway is therefore likely to be unsustainable.

So what does a well designed enhanced recovery pathway document look like?

Each enhanced recovery pathway document will differ slightly due to contextual factors but there are consistant themes which typify a good document. Firstly, the best pathway documents cover the end-to-end process of the patient journey, and are used as the sole document for recording patient care by the whole multi-disciplinary team. The process of designing the pathway document also ensures that interrelationships between different steps and stages in the care process are examined, this helps to engineer strategies to avoid duplication and reduce the time taken to deliver rate limiting steps. A well designed document therefore has many logistical advantages such as reducing the time to complete documentation, removing duplication, improving the quality of patient records, and facilitating audit/evaluation of process and clinical outcomes.

If you have got a good pathway document you would like to share, please get in touch with the enhanced recovery blog. We’d love to write a feature (guest blog) on your unit and promote your success. Sharing experience’s undoubtedly helps others to implement enhanced recovery pathways.

Conversely, if you are having difficulty developing your own pathway documents, get in touch and we can offer resources and advice to help.

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