International Journal of Care Pathways vol:14 issue:4 pages:142-149
The objectives of this paper are to study the aim of care pathways, who has decisional power concerning pathways, the
actual follow-up, challenges in cross-boundary development and the support provided by information and communication
technology (ICT). The study design included a qualitative study using semi-structured interviews with 88 care
pathway coordinators and members of the executive board in 57 health-care organizations enrolled in the Belgian–
Dutch Clinical Pathway Network. The study revealed that the most important objectives for introducing care pathways
are more standardization and quality of care. In 76% of the interviewed organizations, pathways are discussed in a committee. There is a lack of continuous follow-up when care pathways are implemented. Pathways can facilitate cross-boundary care, but are a challenge because of the fragmentation within primary care. There is a need for more ICT support for care pathways. In conclusion, the executive board members and pathway coordinators state that clearly formulated objectives, a special steering committee, a clear follow-up to keep pathways alive, cross-boundary collaboration and ICT support are among the main challenges for the management of an organization.