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New study aims to improve patient care in state's EDs through clinical pathways

Research | Newsroom

New research into how clinical pathways for acute care in Tasmanian emergency departments can help improve patient care is underway.

Dr Viet Tran, from the University’s Tasmanian School of Medicine, is leading a multi-disciplinary study that aims to determine the best approach to enhancing uptake of clinical pathways into emergency departments.

Clinical pathways (CPs) are evidence-based care plans for common presentations. They are tools that enable the same high-quality care to be offered to multiple patients.

“Using clinical pathways can mitigate some of the challenges faced by emergency departments,” says Dr Tran, who is an emergency physician at the Royal Hobart Hospital and Statewide Director of Emergency Medicine Research.

“Emergency departments across the country are high-intensity and fast-paced environments and the standard of care can vary from hospital to hospital.

“CPs do exist in emergency departments, and we know they are beneficial to patients when they are used.

“However, CPs are not used frequently, and we don’t know why.

“This research project will look at the barriers as to why CPs are not adopted in practice, and then develop research-informed implementation strategies to increase uptake.

“Clinical pathways offer clinicians the best practise of care by standardising approaches to care regardless of which doctor you see or which hospital you present to.

“They have proven to reduce hospital length of stay and improve care and health outcomes for patients when used appropriately.”

The study, Implementing clinical Pathways for Acute Care in Tasmania (IMPACT), received $3 million in funding from the Federal Government’s Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF).

Together with colleagues from the University’s Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Tasmanian Health Service (THS) and Ambulance Tasmania, the project will develop patient-centred models of care across Tasmania’s emergency departments.

“The study will work with key stakeholders including consumers, emergency department clinicians, hospital-based health professionals and policy makers to understand and enhance the adoption of clinical pathways in acute care,” Dr Tran said.