While over 8.2 million patients present to Australian emergency departments (EDs) each year, there is little guarantee that their care is evidence-based or standardized. Nationally, on average, 60 percent of care is in line with evidence or consensus-base guidelines, 30 percent causes some form of waste or care of low value, and 10 percent is harmful. The Implementation of Clinical Pathways in Tasmania (IMPACT) project will create the Tasmanian Acute Care Implementation Laboratory (TAIL) to embed clinical pathways into routine practice. Clinical pathways are evidence-based standardized care plans that enable the same high-quality care to be offered to multiple patients.
Clinical pathways exist in emergency departments, and we know they are beneficial to patients when they are used. However, clinical pathways are not used frequently, and we don’t know why. The IMPACT project will look at the barriers as to why clinical pathways are not adopted in practice, and then develop research-informed implementation strategies to increase uptake. Uptake of clinical pathways will empower health professionals to adopt best practices in a timely manner, avoid unnecessary admissions, and achieve better patient outcomes and reduced pressure on our EDs. IMPACT will also identify high-value clinical pathways for future implementation in Tasmania.
IMPACT will prioritise real-world problems and harness the expertise and synergies created by involving stakeholders from across the spectrum of the patient journey including consumers, clinicians, researchers, administrators and policy makers. Consumers are central to IMPACT and will be engaged throughout the entirety of the IMPACT project from conceptualization and development through to planning, implementation and evaluation. Our clinical investigators represent key elements of the Tasmanian acute health sector including ambulance, general practice, emergency medicine, geriatrics, cardiology and medical administration. State and National partners include all four Tasmanian Eds, Ambulance Tasmania, Primary Health Tasmania, Health Consumers Tasmania, the Tasmanian Collaboration for Health Improvement, the Tasmanian Health Service, the Tasmania Department of Health, and the Australasian College for Emergency Medicine and the College of Emergency Nursing Australasia.