These resources are designed to help healthcare professionals assess, treat, and manage patients, and provides information on how to refer to local services and specialists.
Care pathways aim to enhance clinical knowledge and promote best practice care; reduce the number of patients referred to specialist care who could be managed in primary/community care; build collaboration and reduce fragmentation across the health service network, and improve health outcomes.
The development and use of care pathways strengthens understanding of the system in which health professionals work. Care pathways work to:
1. Provide evidence-based information regarding conditions and symptoms – Drawn from latest research and clinical guidelines, care pathways provide details on agreed best practice management with links to relevant clinical practice guidelines, key publications and consensus-based resources. What does best practice look like? What are the barriers or enablers to providing best practice care to patients?
2. Present localised service and referral information to support appropriate patient referrals – Provide accurate information on local referral options for community and hospital based services and programs, including details about how to refer. What is available in my local area? What do I need to do to ensure I refer correctly? What option is best for my patient? Is there an alternative referral option for my patient other than my local hospital?
3. Build collaboration across the sector and aim to identify opportunity for service redesign and partnership opportunities – The development of care pathways is clinician led and collaborative, providing a structure and process for local health professionals and specialist clinicians to collectively articulate agreed criteria for assessment and associated referral requirements. Possible pathway development are embedded within hospital outpatient redesign projects or other service redesign projects. What does the evidence and clinical guidelines say? How do we improve current processes? How can we make referring easier? What can we do to ensure appropriate referrals are being received and how will this impact out outpatient clinic waiting times?
The HealthPathways process is led by GP clinical editors and is designed to involve all those who contribute to patient management. Consumers work alongside the care team. The key steps to the development of localised care pathways are as follows:
Why did we need a HealthPathway for Low Back Pain?
What did General Practitioners think?
“It’s a really common thing – around 90% of us will have back pain at some point in their life so it’s really important that we get treatment right,” – Dr Debra Wilson, General Practitioner.
What did Specialists think?
“We were sitting here inside Royal Melbourne and all the GPs were out there, and we were just getting flooded with referrals. We said, we’ll help you develop the HealthPathway, because we see that as a way of helping GPs manage back pain within the community and improve their level of care of back pain patients” – Mr John Cunningham, Orthopaedic Surgeon
The GP Referral form is a user-friendly resource to support GP referrals to other services, public and private. The referral form provides a standardised mechanism for referral from general practice to health providers including hospital specialist clinics (outpatients). The benefits of using this form are that:
The Service Coordination Tool Templates (SCTT) are a suite of templates developed to facilitate and support service coordination. The SCTT support the collection and recording of initial contact, initial needs identification, referral and coordinated care planning information in a standardised way.
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services website contains access to online learning modules, screening tools, and other templates. Software vendors can advise on how to embed SCTT into provider systems.
HealthPathways Melbourne is a partnership between Eastern Melbourne PHN and North Western Melbourne PHN.
Yarra Ranges (part)
Macedon Ranges (part)
Great South Coast