Clinical practice guidelines are a set of statements that include recommendations intended to provide the best patient care. They are created by a systematic review of biomedical literature and evidence.
During the design, their authors must weigh the benefits against the harms of all medical interventions and therapy protocols. Furthermore, guidelines must be designed according to their feasibility and with respect to the strict quality assurance process. Sometimes, alternative options are taken into consideration. Their primary purpose is to improve patient outcomes on the population level.
Established guidelines are imperative for all community physicians and are applied throughout everyday patient care worldwide. Nevertheless, a clinician cannot follow the pace of the rapidly expanding knowledge related to health.
Additional problems are inherited from the nature of biomedical literature. To use the full potential of scientific publication one must deeply understand the biostatistical and regulatory aspects. Such an environment is usually not available within community hospitals and small practice and requires larger centers and joined efforts of several specialties.
As the overall knowledge expands, this reflects the guidelines’ effectiveness in terms of quantity and quality.
Today, the best way to distribute information is through digital platforms. In the case of clinical information, digital standards provide the possibility to enrich information in a way hard to achieve through mare print form.
We at Wemedoo believe in a unique software solution that will condense clinical and general biomedical knowledge in a computable, semantically interoperable form.
Clinical guidelines are created by the principle “one size fits all”, the approach not always implementable on the field. They are intended for use on the national and international level. However, larger institutions or even small departments may profit from digitalization of their best practices on a higher level.
We believe that solution could be found in the form of digital clinical pathways – a simple and reliable education resource that might serve as a guide in multiple situations.
Clinical pathways are also known as care pathways, integrated care pathways, or care maps. They are a valuable tool in maintaining quality of care by standardizing the processes. Clinical pathways may rely on several clinical guidelines and literature sources and specify the procedures within a context of a healthcare provider.
The process of designing a clinical pathway requires considering local conditions, specific patient population, availability of equipment and socio-economic aspects of the environment.
When properly structured, digital clinical pathways can reduce the complexity of clinical guideline development while simultaneously making the technical process feasible.
Actionable Insights Through Digitalization
By using clinical pathways, a physician will have access to information on special clinical cases where the patient does not fit into the predicted evidence-based scheme.
When collected in a structured way and streamlined, this clinical information could be exchanged between experts, which will enable decision making for future case-specific situations.
Digitalization of knowledge also has the benefit of tracking of predefined references in real time. In example, if a new reference appears that opposes or confirms the claims within the chosen guideline or pathway, the system automatically triggers on a notification.