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  1. Latta, Giselle RN


Purpose/Objectives: This column traces the journey of Mater Health Services to improve the safety, quality, and consistency of its patient care by integrating evidence-based, best medical practices. Through a multidisciplinary approach of development, implementation, and ongoing improvement of care pathways, Mater Health Services shifted its focus from expected lengths of stay to the recovery milestones of individual patients.


Primary Practice Setting(s): Mater Health Services Brisbane Ltd., Australia, which comprises seven private and public hospitals and a research institute.


Findings/Conclusions: By instituting its vision to be an evidence-based, best practice organization, putting the patient first, Mater Health Services has created a multidisciplinary team approach to care. It has significantly improved risk management, reduced lengths of stays and healthcare costs, and increased patient and staff satisfaction.


Implications for Case Management Practice:


* To be successful, this integrated approach to case management requires the engagement of all participants in a patient's care, including the patient.


* Clearly defined guidelines for best medical practices can serve as a roadmap for everyone involved in a patient's care and a vehicle for robust multidisciplinary communications.


* Care outcomes for a patients' hospital journey are greatly influenced by three interrelated aspects of care: care received and expectations set prior to hospitalization; care, timing of care, and expectations set in hospital; and availability of appropriate, clinically safe posthospital care.


* A strategic, well-executed approach to integrating the best scientifically proven practices in medicine takes active leadership, as well as the commitment and patience to make sure all participants-nurses, surgeons, and allied health-are involved in the development, implementation, and ongoing improvement of care pathways and care management.