Background: Clinical pathways (CPs) increase in popularity and are known to lead to several benefits in the hospital environment. Clinical pathways can be either paper-based or software-based. It is known that paper-based CPs can result in more paperwork instead of simplifying daily routines of healthcare workers. Insufficient research has been done on the acceptance of software-based CPs by different user groups. Our aim in this study was to assess the effectiveness of the software-based CPs (CPS) from the perspective of healthcare professionals in the hospital environment as well as to investigate the differences in perceived effectiveness between user groups. Methods: Using surveys and interviews, data were collected in four departments of an academic medical center. A distinction was made between decision makers (DM) and executive staff (ES). The surveys contained questions based on the Technology Acceptance Model and four objectives of the software defined by the hospital. Statistical tests were used to investigate the effectiveness of CPS and study the differences between DM and ES. Interviews were recorded and transcribed based on grounded theory principals. Results: After implementation, monitoring protocol-based working was significantly improved (p = .026) and significantly higher efficiency on the work floor was reported (p = .046). ES perceived the software as less useful than expected (Md = 3.25 vs. Md = 2.75, p = .028) compared to DM and were less convinced of its ability to improve monitoring protocol-based working. The most important benefits of CPS as perceived by its users are the better overview of tasks it provides and facilitating documentation. Negative aspects mentioned were the lack of usability and the inflexibility of the software, and particularly ES claimed that the software did not increase their effectiveness. Conclusion: Our study showed that CPS is effective from healthcare professionals’ perspective due to its ability to increase monitoring of protocol-based working and by enhancing the efficiency on the work floor. However, the users also acknowledge that the software lacks usability and is not flexible enough, which results in an additional workload. Policy makers should be more focused on informing and training executive staff more thoroughly when implementing a CPS. Our results strongly suggest that executive staff members need to be convinced of its usefulness and the added value a CPS provides. Preferably, they should be involved in the design phase of the software.

, , , ,,
International Journal of Medical Informatics
Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management (ESHPM)

Askari, M., Tam, J.L.Y.Y. (J. L.Y.Y.), Aarnoutse, M.F. (M. F.), & Meulendijk, M. (M.). (2020). Perceived effectiveness of clinical pathway software: A before-after study in the Netherlands. International Journal of Medical Informatics, 135. doi:10.1016/j.ijmedinf.2019.104052