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  1. Ireson, Carol L. PhD, RN


Refining the clinical care process to produce high-quality patient outcomes is becoming increasingly important as healthcare administrators strive for success in a mature managed care environment. This study examines the effect of structuring interventions and the evaluation of patient response, inherent in the critical pathway process, on clinical, length-of-hospital-stay, and financial patient outcomes. This study differs from previous critical pathway trials in that an objective measure of quality was used and the critical pathways were not introduced concurrently with a case management delivery model. The results show that critical pathways may be a significant determinant of improved quality in a managed care environment. The findings also suggest ways to improve nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing informatics.