Could Clinical Pathways Improve the Quality of Care in Patients with Gastrointestinal Cancer? A Meta-analysis

  • Song, Xu-Ping (School of Public Health, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Tian, Jin-Hui (Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Cui, Qi (School of Public Health, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Zhang, Ting-Ting (Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Yang, Ke-Hu (Evidence-Based Medicine Center, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University) ;
  • Ding, Guo-Wu (School of Public Health, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Lanzhou University)
  • Published : 2014.10.23


This meta-analysis was performed to assess the implementation effects of clinical pathways in patients with gastrointestinal cancer. A comprehensive search was conducted in the Cochrane Library, PubMed, EMBASE, Web of Science and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database (from inception to May 2014). Selection of studies, assessing risk of bias and extracting data were performed by two reviewers independently. Outcomes were analyzed by fixed-effects and random-effects model meta-analysis and reported as mean difference (MD), standardized mean difference (SMD) and odds ratio (OR) with 95% confidence intervals (CI). The Jadad methodological approach was used to assess the quality of included studies and the meta-analysis was conducted with RevMan 5.1 software. Nine citations (eight trials) involving 642 patients were included. The aggregate results showed that a shorter average length of stay [MD = -4.0; 95% CI (-5.1, -2.8); P < 0.00001] was observed with the clinical pathways as compared with the usual care. A reduction in inpatient expenditure [SMD = -1.5; 95% CI (-2.3, -0.7); P = 0.0001] was also associated with clinical pathways, along with higher patient satisfaction [OR = 4.9; 95% CI (2.2, 10.6); P < 0.0001]. Clinical pathways could improve the quality of care in patients with gastrointestinal cancer, as evidenced by a significant reduction in average length of stay, a decrease in inpatient expenditure and an improvement in patient satisfaction. Therefore, indicators and mechanisms within clinical pathways should be a focus in the future.


Clinical pathways;gastrointestinal cancer;length of stay;expenditure;satifaction


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