NHS Wales has indicated that all of its seven health boards are to use the HealthPathways online guidance tool for clinical decision making.
New Zealand based Streamliners, which developed the tool, said it has come to an agreement with NHS Wales following its implementation at Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
This will be the first national implementation of the system, which uses locally agreed care pathways for 600 clinical conditions. The pathways are based on evidence and further developed by a collaborative community of over 60 health systems.
NHS Wales’ clinical lead for the roll out, Dr Alastair Roeves, said that Cardiff and Vale has reported a number of improvements from the use of the tool. These include a reduction in the outpatient waiting list for ear, nose and throat treatments, a 30% reduction in absolute numbers of accepted hip referrals entering orthopaedics outpatients, and a 66% reduction in referrals for MRI scans for knee and spine problems.
It has also helped the health board rapidly change clinical pathways for patients.
Roeves commented: “When scaled nationally it will directly support the five workstreams of the Strategic Programme for Planned Care, and will magnify their impact.
“It also directly supports the Unscheduled Care, Primary Care and Mental Health and End of Life Care programmes – and thereby will also indirectly support the Planned Care Programme by reducing barriers to flow in these other programmes.”