Critical pathways are care plans that detail the essential steps in patient care with a view to describing the expected progress of the patient. The authors’ review of the literature suggest the use of critical pathways reduces the cost of care and the length of patient stay in hospital. They also have a positive impact on outcomes, such as increased quality of care and patient satisfaction, improved continuity of information, and patient education.
Author affiliations: Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland (Ms Renholm); University of Turku, Finland (Dr Leino-Kilpi and Dr Suominen).
Corresponding author: Marja Renholm, MNSc, RN, Department of Medicine, Helsinki University Central Hospital, FIN-00290 Helsinki, Finland (firstname.lastname@example.org).