Joint replacement treatment: Using clinical pathways works

Jul 01, 2009

Clinical pathways have been used in surgeries since the 1980s, but their nature and usefulness are still subjects of much debate, especially as procedures such as hip and knee joint replacement represent a significant cost to hospitals. Now authors publishing in the open access journal BMC Medicine have concluded that using clinical pathways can effectively improve the quality of the care provided to patients undergoing joint replacement.

A research team from the University of Eastern Piedmont, the Catholic University Leuven, the University Politecnica delle Marche and the Sainte Rita Hospital Trust searched four databases (Medline, Cinahl, Embase and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials) using relevant medical subject headings. The authors compared trials that contrasted the clinical pathways care with standard medical care whilst analysing at least one of the four possible clinical outcomes of postoperative complications, discharge to home, length of in-hospital stay (LOS) and direct costs.

The meta-analysis, covering 6,316 patients, showed that patients in the clinical pathways group had significantly lower levels of postoperative complications and significantly shorter hospital stays, which greatly contributed to lower hospital costs. The authors believe that these positive findings are a consequence of the care being better organised. Inappropriate care lengthens hospital stays and increases the risk of complications; clinical pathways have been shown to prevent inappropriate care and, thus, the cost to the .

This new data provides policy makers with the evidence they need to evaluate the place of clinical pathways in JR. According to the authors, "With the need for knee and hip joint replacement on the rise, the use of clinical pathways might contribute to better quality of care and cost-effectiveness."

More information: Effects of clinical pathways in the : a meta-analysis, A Barbieri, K Vanhaecht, P Van Herck, W Sermeus, F Faggiano, S Marchisio and M Panella, BMC Medicine (in press), http://www.biomedcentral.com/bmcmed/

Source: BioMed Central (news : web)

Explore further: World's first wearable blue LED light therapy device to treat skin disease psoriasis vulgaris

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

'Shrug off' shoulder surgery myth, study suggests

Mar 26, 2007

Contrary to widespread belief, total surgical replacement of arthritic shoulder joints carries no greater risk of complications than replacement of other major joints, a Johns Hopkins study suggests.

How often do hip and knee replacements need revision?

Sep 02, 2008

A comprehensive study using nationwide data on hip and knee replacements in England has found that one in seventy-five patients require a revision of their joint replacement after three years. Although this compares favourably ...

Recommended for you

Motion capture examines dance techniques

Sep 29, 2014

WAAPA dance students are set to take part in a world-first biomechanical study that tracks their training, technique and injuries as they develop as professional performers.

User comments : 0