Clinical Pathway Implementation and Teamwork in Swedish Intensive Care : Challenges in Evidence-Based Practice and Interprofessional Collaboration

Sammanfattning: Suboptimal quality of care is an evident issue in current healthcare services. Clinical pathways (CPs) have the potential to facilitate evidence-based practice and interprofessional teamwork, and thereby improve patient safety and quality of care.The overall aim of the thesis was to develop comprehensive empirical knowledge and understanding of CP implementation and teamwork in Swedish intensive care units (ICUs). Four studies were included (I-IV).Study I was a survey including all Swedish ICUs (N84) and a document analysis of CP examples (n12). In total, 17 (20%) ICUs used CPs and many had implementation plans. The quality, extent and content of the CPs (n56) varied greatly, with sometimes insufficient interprofessionalism, evidence base and renewal.Study II was a mixed method including ICUs using CPs. The implementation processes were retrospectively explored through questionnaire data (n15) and qualitative content analysis of interviews with key informants (n10). The CP implementation was revealed as a process directed at realizing the usefulness and creating new habits, which requires enthusiasm, support and time.Studies III and IV were grounded theory studies in an action research project in an ICU. Study III explored everyday teamwork through focus group interviews with registered nurses, assistant nurses and anesthesiologists, as well as an individual interview with a physiotherapist (n38). Teamwork was revealed as an act of ‘balancing intertwined responsibilities.’ The type of teamwork fluctuated as the team processes were affected by circumstantial factors and involved individuals. Study IV prospectively explored the implementation process of a CP during a five-year period through repeated focus groups and individual interviews, questionnaires and logbooks/field notes, including the interprofessional project group, staff and managers (n71), and retrospective screening of health records (n136). ‘Struggling for a feasible tool’ was revealed as a central phenomenon. The implementation process included contextual and processual circumstances that enforced negotiations to achieve progress, which made the process tentative and prolonged and had consequences on the process output.In conclusion, CP implementation processes are affected by multiple interplaying factors. Although progress has been achieved in evidence-based practice and interprofessional collaboration there is still potential for substantial improvements, emphasizing a need for further facilitation.