De European Pathway Association definieert een zorgpad of een klinisch pad als volgt:
A care pathway is a complex intervention for the mutual decision making and organisation of care processes for a well-defined group of patients during a well-defined period. Defining characteristics of care pathways include:
(i) An explicit statement of the goals and key elements of care based on evidence, best practice, and patients’ expectations and their characteristics;
(ii) the facilitation of the communication among the team members and with patients and families;
(iii) the coordination of the care process by coordinating the roles and sequencing the activities of the multidisciplinary care team, patients and their relatives;
(iv) the documentation, monitoring, and evaluation of variances and outcomes; and
(v) the identification of the appropriate resources.
The aim of a care pathway is to enhance the quality of care across the continuum by improving risk-adjusted patient outcomes, promoting patient safety, increasing patient satisfaction, and optimizing the use of resources (1,2).
(1) Vanhaecht K, De Witte K, Sermeus W. The impact of clinical pathways on the organisation of care processes. Leuven: ACCO; 2007.
(2) Vanhaecht K, Panella M, Van Zelm RT, Sermeus W. An overview on the concept and history of care pathways as complex interventions. International Journal of Care Pathways 2010;14:117-23.