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care maps(TM), clinical pathway, neomaps, neonatal care, outcomes management



  1. Schwoebel, Ann RNC, MSN, CRNP
  2. Jones, Mary Lou Helfrich PhD, RN, CNAA


Health care reform, managed care, and the current outcomes movement have generated a rapid acceleration toward the development and implementation of clinical pathways in the field of neonatology. This article describes the design, implementation, and evaluation of an interdisciplinary clinical pathway system for a neonatal intensive care nursery. This neonatal clinical pathway is a clinical tool that delineates practice guidelines for each discipline that provides care to a specific infant population. It has reduced variation in clinical process and thereby has been shown to improve the quality of infant care. When practice guidelines and documentation are linked to health and economic outcomes, they begin to significantly impact health care costs.