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January 4, 1995

Clinical Paths: Tools for Outcomes Management

Author Affiliations

Blue Cross—Blue Shield of Illinois Chicago

JAMA. 1995;273(1):84-85. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520250100044

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


In the past two to five years, many hospitals have begun to address the problem of widespread variation in physician practice styles by local development of "Clinical Paths," also known as "Critical Paths" and other synonyms. The intent of such pathways is generally to produce much greater reliability in favorable patient (and institutional) outcomes in terms of length of stay (LOS). Clearly, the impetus of these efforts is to affect the financial bottom line of hospitals and to guarantee quality in terms of related morbidity and mortality.

This book is the product of a diverse group of physician and nurse quality management specialists, clinical nurse specialists, and medical department chairpersons in community hospitals and university medical centers. Its contributors even include a pharmacist and an attorney.

Part 1 discusses how paths have evolved and factors that lead to relative success or failure in implementation. An introduction to the evolving fields

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