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The Care Pathway Concept: concepts and theories: an introduction


Guus Schrijvers ,

About Guus
prof. dr., Julius Centre for Patient Oriented Research, The University Medical Centre Utrecht, Netherlands
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Arjan van Hoorn,

About Arjan van

Programme Manager Commercial Treatment Center (CBC) The University Medical Centre Utrecht, The Netherlands

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Nicolette Huiskes

About Nicolette

Medical Doctor Policy and Advice, CZ Health Insurance Company, The Netherlands

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This article addresses first the definition of a (care) pathway, and then follows a description of theories since the fifties of the last century.  It ends with a discussion of theoretical advantages and disadvantages of care pathways for patients and professionals. The objective of this paper is to provide a theoretical base for empirical studies on care pathways. 

The knowledge for this chapter is based on several books on pathways, which we found by searching in the digital encyclopedia Wikipedia. Although this is not usual in scientific publications, this method was used because books are not searchable by databases as Pubmed. . From 2005, we performed a literature search on Pubmed and other literature databases, and with the keywords integrated care pathway, clinical pathway, critical pathway, theory, research, and evaluation. One of the inspirational sources was the website of the European Pathway Association (EPA) and its journal International Journal of Care Pathways. The authors visited several sites for this paper. These are mentioned as illustration of a concept or theory. Most of them have English websites with more information. The URL's of these websites are not mentioned in this paper as a reference, because the content of them changes fast, sometimes every day.
How to Cite: Schrijvers G, Hoorn A van, Huiskes N. The Care Pathway Concept: concepts and theories: an introduction. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2012;12(6):None. DOI:
Published on 18 Sep 2012.
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