GP Pulse recently caught up with College Fellow and NZ Regional Clinical Advisor of HealthPathways, Dr Justine Lancaster, to find out how the HealthPathways website can support GPs and other primary care professionals.
Originally developed in Canterbury, HealthPathways was developed by GPs to support GPs and other primary care professionals during a consultation. HealthPathways has now gone global and is available in over 40 regions across New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.
Most New Zealand regions have their own localised HealthwayPathways websites (except for parts of the central North Island which are launching soon and Hawkes Bay) to help GPs manage over 500 conditions - including treatment options, referral criteria, information resources for patients, links to further learning, and much more.
Justine encourages all primary care health professionals to explore their local HealthPathways website.
“HealthPathways is made up of evidence-based, up-to-date, localised clinical processes and an information directory to guide the GP or primary health professional on how things are done in the local area.
“You’ll not only reap the benefits of access to local knowledge on managing conditions, but you’ll also be able to provide feedback for improvement and share best practice.”
HealthPathways was designed to be easy-to-use within a consultation and it includes handy tips, such as local health alerts and current resource constraints helping you to make an informed decision on how to best to care for your patient.
“HealthPathways is a great channel for getting evidence into practice – it enables us to deliver consistent quality of care and to enhance equity of access outcomes, by providing up-to-date information on topics some GPs may have lost touch on. ”
User feedback is encouraged (corrections, updated evidence or suggestions) to help ensure the websites are continually improved with the latest best practice and local treatment options.
“We actively encourage feedback from GPs to help keep the pathways as up-to-date as possible with local information.
“Being connected to HealthPathways is a great way of growing and sharing your own knowledge and empowering others in primary care to manage conditions we may be less familiar with. As GPs, we have wide knowledge and are great generalists, but none of us know everything.”
Each pathway has been collaboratively developed by local GP Clinical Editors like Justine, who liaise with relevant secondary care subject matter experts and interested GPs.
“It’s great to have our secondary care colleagues engaged in the process. The negotiation helps to build collegial understanding and encourage patient-centred healthcare across the system.”
Primary care health professionals can use HealthPathways free of charge from any device. All you need is the username and password which you can either get from your colleagues or by contracting your local DHB. Once you’re all set, click the HealthPathways icon on your practice management software.