Overcoming widespread doubts to introduce digital care pathways
Marie Stevens’ leadership-oriented career has spanned nearly 40 years -- but while today she’s responsible for coordinating the clinical pathways developed, implemented, and evaluated within the CHC Health Group, she hasn’t always been. So let’s start at the beginning.
In 1982, Marie entered the Delivery Unit, spending six years as a midwife before shifting her sights to management; in 1988, she stepped into the Head of the High-Risk Pregnancy Unit role -- where she continued to excel for the next decade.
At the same time, Marie was training as a clinical nurse specialist. She became a Middle Manager in Hygiene & Quality in 1998, and then, in 2001, she was invited into the role of ICAN -- where she became the singular nurse in charge of welcoming new staff and students.
And then it was December of 2003, and Marie was introduced to the concept of clinical care pathways for the first time. She was approached with an opportunity: there was interest among physicians at the CHC to bring clinical pathways into the hospital, and the effort would require a Middle Manager for coordination.
Marie didn’t hesitate. She was sold.
Serving as the point of contact for multidisciplinary teams that request a clinical pathway (and are involved with the development, implementation, and evaluation of it), Marie is both gate-keeper and peace-keeper of the operations.
“Reaching agreement on a consensual approach to care among stakeholders from a wide variety of backgrounds is the biggest challenge,” she explains, “but clinical pathways are an important part of putting the patient’s voice forward. So I enjoy the responsibility.”
That genuine passion is what’s propelled Marie through different phases in her career, embracing new systems -- and new challenges -- as she goes. When it comes to clinical pathways, one of those new challenges has been entering the digital sphere.
“It was at a PAQS Symposium where I first had the opportunity to really understand Awell,” Marie recalls. “I was there with an anaesthetist, and we both realised, with technology, there was a chance to increase patient involvement while also simplifying patient cooperation.”
They left that Symposium determined to try digital pathway technology for the pathway they were in the midst of developing. When the Total Hip Replacement/Total Knee Replacement pathway responded well, they deployed Awell to help with the newer Pre-Op pathway too.
And just like that, with Marie’s leadership, the CHC began embracing digitisation.
Marie’s the first to admit that before digital care pathways were attempted in the hospital, there were some collective concerns:
- Would patients be able to use the technology?
- Would the technology cause an increase in workload?
- Would the technology even be compatible with their EMR system?
But those concerns weren’t enough to stop the software from being tested -- because, while Marie already knew the immense benefits of clinical pathways, she had a hunch that turning those pathways digital would unleash a whole new set of benefits.
And… she was right:
- Suddenly, all relevant stakeholders had 24/7 visibility on the procedures, instructions, and data they needed.
- Suddenly, all patients could communicate with their care providers from wherever they were -- not just when they were in consultations.
- Suddenly, all data could be organised and integrated seamlessly into the computerised patient record, minimising manual labor required.
“Digital care pathways are a huge help for the future of care pathways -- because a finished, turnkey product is unthinkable. A modular tool, one that can adjust and grow as we learn, is the solution.” That’s Marie’s opinion, but she doesn’t just voice it. She puts it into action.
With four care pathways already fully digitised in the CHC (Total Hip/Knee Replacement and Pre-Op, plus Stroke and Checklist Pre-Op), Marie is motivated to continue standardising care -- and managing resources -- as efficiently as she possibly can. And that involves relying on digital clinical pathways.
When we asked Marie for any tips she’d give to those looking to bring digital pathways into their own clinics, she immediately got down to business. “Start with an elective pathology, like Total Hip or Total Knee, to understand all aspects of the pathway.”
And? “If the clinic has a computerised patient file, it might be interesting to learn about the integration possibilities for all levels, from medical to nursing to paramedical and beyond.”
And finally? “I’ll offer my ‘good luck’ to anyone who dares to take the journey on. And remember, software like Awell -- it can really and truly be a great help.”
We’re so proud to have been able to work with Marie as she helped her hospital group revolutionise the care they were able to provide -- and we can’t wait to watch what
Marie, and the CHC, accomplish next.
If you’d like a better look into what Awell can do for your clinic -- in terms of standardising practice, heightening productivity, and improving care -- reach out to us now. We’d be happy to give you a personalised tour and show you the real-world value that’s waiting.