What is HealthPathways?

HealthPathways in local context

HealthPathways is an online manual used by clinicians to help make assessment, management, and specialist request decisions for over 600 conditions.

Rather than being traditional guidelines, each pathway is an agreement between primary and specialist services on how patients with particular conditions will be managed in the local context. Each health jurisdiction tailors the content of HealthPathways to reflect local arrangements and opinion, and deploys their own instance of HealthPathways to their clinical community.

The target audience for HealthPathways is the primary care clinicians responsible for managing patients in the community, and for initiating requests (including referrals to hospital) for specialist assistance.

HealthPathways Community

HealthPathways began in Canterbury, New Zealand, in 2008, as a collaboration between Streamliners and the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). Since then, more than 60 primary care and hospital care organisations have formed partnerships to jointly localise HealthPathways. These organisations are all part of the HealthPathways Community which enables them to share knowledge, processes, pathways, and infrastructure.

HealthPathways has been a key enabler in Canterbury’s collaborative and integrated health system, which has been recognised in a report by acclaimed British health authority, The King's Fund (August 2017).

Health systems across New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom have adopted and adapted the learnings from Canterbury. The HealthPathways methodology and toolset is now used for more than 600 conditions used by GPs, nurses, and other health professionals across 60 health systems who care for 35 million patients around Australia, New Zealand, and the UK.

Canterbury Tales, presentation by Carolyn Gullery, April 2018.  Click image to play presentation.

HealthPathways in use

HealthPathways started in Canterbury in 2008 and use has steadily increased to the point that 99% of general practitioners surveyed* use it weekly in their practice, 70% of whom use it daily. Use is also high by practice nurses, pharmacists, physiotherapists, community nurses, and other allied health services.

General practitioners most often use it during consultation as a memory jogger for diagnostics, medicine, and community and specialist assistance availability for the needs of the patient in front of them.

HealthPathways benefits

Patients benefit when general practice and other services can do more for them in the community. They also benefit when clinicians can provide greater clarity about the appropriateness and likelihood of obtaining further specialist services and alternative options.






*Looking to the Future: a survey of HealthPathways users by Canterbury Initiative in 2013.

Clinicians benefit by building relationships with their primary care and hospital specialist colleagues as they localise HealthPathways. They also gain greater certainty in the options for managing their patients.

The local health system benefits through less demand on acute and residential care services as patients are better managed in the community, freeing up resources to provide more elective services and increase assistance to primary care.

HealthPathways platform

All members of the HealthPathways Community share a common platform provided by Streamliners. The common platform enables efficient sharing of pathways between members, and cost-effective technical writing, publishing, and system administration services. Members do not need to invest in IT services.



Next steps to joining the HealthPathways Community

Self-assessment of readiness

Before applying to join the HealthPathways Community, organisations should self-assess their readiness for implementing the HealthPathways methodology and toolset. 

Readiness criteria include having in place:

  • A well communicated vision for community, primary, and secondary care services working together to give a highly effective and seamless service to patients.
  • A primary and secondary care partnership for governing work programmes (including HealthPathways) at the interface.
  • Committed leadership and resources for establishing a local HealthPathways team.
  • Engaged and empowered clinicians.

Further information on these criteria is available by emailing healthpathways@streamliners.co.nz

Next steps

Subject to meeting the readiness criteria, contact us to arrange a discussion about HealthPathways implementation processes and expected outcomes.