Care pathways to cut 'variation' in treatment.
Diagnosis, treatment and management of key diseases affecting the health of the Abu Dhabi population will soon be standardised following an initiative to develop locally tailored care pathways.
The clinical care pathways are meant to "provide physicians with real-time decision support at the point of care", as well as assist them in carrying out treatment methods based on the best evidence available internationally and nationally, in the emirate's eight health priorities.
Those include cardiovascular diseases, communicable diseases, cancer, mother, infant and children's health, occupational health and other chronic conditions.
The clinical care pathways programme, which is the first initiative of its kind in the region, is a joint project between the Health Authority - Abu Dhabi (HD) and Zynx Health Middle East, provider of evidence-based clinical decision support solutions.
According to Dr Oliver Harrison, HD Director of Strategy, all healthcare facilities will be required to embed the pathways into their system.
"Embedding the content will be mandatory, but how (physicians) do it is not mandatory ... These may be options for physicians to choose. The final decision rests with the doctor," he said.
However, the caveat is that the physician may be held accountable for that decision.
"No one can actually read 180,000 scientific papers per year and doctors sometimes may miss out on a detail; the care pathways condense all of that into clear recommendations on what to do," he stressed.
The pathways programme will provide essential clinical decision support such as recommended diagnostic tests, information on drugs and potential alternative therapies to practising clinicians.
This, in turn, would "reduce variation in care", Jeff Dienhart, managing director of Zynx Health, pointed out.
"Addressing the health challenges facing our community means that ... the regulator, HD, providers and payers must work together to adopt a new approach to care delivery and management based on clinical pathways to map treatment and care steps in the patient journey through the various stages of healthcare," said Zaid Al Siksek, CEO of the HD.
The work on the three-year programme will start this month, with the first pathways being created in the second half of 2013. Access to the clinical pathways will be made available to the 25,000 clinicians electronically, through their in-house IT systems, beginning 2014.
For the programme, 68 standardised clinical care pathways will be created for the emirate's key priority diseases, to be led by 25 health decision-makers in the emirate.
Representatives from healthcare facilities and insurance companies will also comprise the policy advisory committee.
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