Are you looking at how your agency can reduce documentation time?  Does your agency have programs that routinely follow the same type of client or disease process?  Would you like to be able to easily train new staff on visit/assessment protocols for certain client groups?  If you said yes to any of these questions, pathways just might be your answer.  Read on to see the many benefits of using pathways.

Pathways can be defined as an agency standard or diagnosis-specific care plan.   In fact, pathways and care plans are very similar.   They both outline the plan of care to be provided to an individual, family or community and describe a set of actions to be performed.  But there is a difference.  While care plans are specific to an assessed individual, family or community, pathways are a generic care plan for a specific population.

Pathways allow you to set standards of practice!  Now you can easily set a standard of care/practice by choosing: what should be assessed; treatments and procedures that should be done; education, guidance and counselling that should be provided; and the management that needs to be completed.  Why is this beneficial?  Not only have you set best practice standards for quality assurance purposes, you now have a great tool that can be used to train new staff quickly and easily.

In addition to the benefits of standards of practice, pathways are easily customizable.  Thousands of pathways exist in the public domain.  That allows agencies to pick up pathways from neighboring agencies as well as agencies from across the nation.   While some of these pathways might be similar to the populations you are serving, you will, of course, want to add your agency’s flair.  No problem! Pathways are easy to customize.  Simply swap out targets/interventions.  Switch up the guides. Add in your own pamphlets.pathways picture2 resized 600

Are you tired of trying to QA or audit your clinicians’ charts? Is it a tedious task but it’s still on your “to do” list?  The very nature of an organized pathway structure with problem identification and interventions being selected allows your auditor to see very quickly if documentation requirements are being met.

The last and most valuable benefit is that pathways provide for efficient documentation.  The shell of the documentation is done! Just check off those areas in the pathway that were addressed.  After that, all that’s needed now is to personalize your documentation to the individual, family or community that was served.  That eliminates needless duplication of interventions that are standard for that population you are serving.   How many hours are your clinicians wasting typing the same standard phrase over and over?  With pathways, those hours will no longer be wasted.

Are pathways worth your time? Yes!  Setting standards of practice, creating a tool to train new staff, eliminating wasted time documenting, streamlining the QA process and ease of customization…you can’t afford to not use pathways!