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Successful combination – North Cumbria Community and Hospital HealthPathways

Published on 15 Dec, 2022 | Return|

In October 2021, we shared an update about the establishment of North Cumbria Hospital HealthPathways in a combined Community / Hospital HealthPathways implementation, the first of its type in the northern hemisphere. The programme launched to the hospital community on Monday 1 August 2022, and since then, the team has worked hard to deliver a high number of pathways with local information to support junior doctors at the point of care, or help them refer to the right place when needed. 

User engagement

From the very start, the team has employed strategies to ensure that Hospital HealthPathways will be widely used in the health community and is highly integrated into a clinician’s daily routine. User engagement has been very high from the outset, in no small part due to timing the launch to coincide with the start of the hospital induction programmes. 

The team used three main approaches to the launch, focused around events, engagement, and access.

The programme team organised launch activities in the two major North Cumbria hospitals, including an information booth at the main thoroughfare of each. While it was impossible to predict who was going to come through, being able to target senior clinicians in this way was beneficial, says Phil Knighton, Programme Manager for the combined North Cumbria HealthPathways programmes.

Rod Harpin (Medical Director), Paul Counter (Clinical Lead for HealthPathways and consultant), and Ed Barton (Senior Clinical Editor and consultant) attended at well-timed parts of the day, showing HealthPathways to fellow clinicians.

“Having senior clinicians engaged with HealthPathways will often result in junior doctors using HealthPathways, with patients benefiting from streamlined care,” says Phil.

“They were able to use their working relationships to connect about HealthPathways, and help build excitement about the launch of the programme.”

In addition, the team made sure the site launched before the early August start of the junior doctor rotation. During their induction the junior doctors had various meetings and enrolment events at which HealthPathways was often mentioned. Senior doctors also touched on HealthPathways during induction, and gave Hospital HealthPathways a separate time slot in the induction schedule. This connected approach was reflected across onboarding of all medical staff starting around that time, including many locums. 
“While locums are often highly skilled doctors, they may not always be familiar with local process and local availability of services, and HealthPathways provides that information at the point of care,” says Phil.

While acknowledging that is it too early in the life cycle of the programme to report on substantive changes, Phil reports that the team are seeing growing engagement. 

“Anecdotally we’re getting positive feedback and also more requests for pathways than we have resource to keep up. So people are clearly keen to have their area reflected on Hospital HealthPathways,” he says.

Well before launch, the programme team started liaising with their IT department to ensure that everybody in the North Cumbria Integrated Care NHS Foundation Trust had preinstalled HealthPathways icons on their desktops. This made access to Hospital HealthPathways a quick and easy click or tap away. 

“This decision has paid off well, and no doubt contributed to the high user engagement for Hospital HealthPathways,” says Phil.


Launch celebration: (Left to right) Ed Barton (Senior Clinical Editor and Consultant), Georgina Coakley (Clinical Editor), Joyce Norris (HealthPathways Coordinator), Julie Kennedy (HealthPathways Coordinator).

Dr Harvey Dalton, Physican Associate, North Cumbria Hospital HealthPathways Team

Why Hospital HealthPathways?

“The driver for embarking on and embracing Hospital HealthPathways for North Cumbria was already having a successful Community HealthPathways implementation,” explains Phil. 

“The overall sense of principles between community and hospital implementations is very similar in that both reflect ‘how we do things around here’, supporting increased equity and reducing unwarranted variation in care, optimising referrals and discharges, and encouraging appropriate use of referrals, investigations, and treatments.”

“As HealthPathways is a community of members sharing experiences and commonalities in pathway content, collaboration with other programme teams and their own local content is key,” he says. 

“Because the North Cumbria Hospital implementation is the first in the northern hemisphere, it was not possible to learn from the experience of other teams around the United Kingdom. However, we were able to participate in the regular Hospital HealthPathways forums with programme team colleagues from Australia and New Zealand, which provided an opportunity to network and share experiences, all of which also helped support a successful start,” he adds.

“As a part of the establishment service, in addition to Mark Girvan (UK establishment advisor), it was very helpful to have support from both Mary McLeod (Programme Manager) and Mike Ardagh (Senior Clinical Editor) from Canterbury Hospital HealthPathways in New Zealand.”

Immediate goal

The programme team’s immediate goal is to run their combined programme as two streams of one programme. They aim to use a multi-pronged approach:

  • make the most efficient use of time by developing Community HealthPathways and Hospital HealthPathways simultaneously where possible, meaning community and hospital clinical editors are not both taking senior clinicians’ time for input into the content
  • choose suites of pages that are efficient to develop together. Because community pages are more prevalent, this often means ‘lifting and shifting’ community pages to localise for Hospital HealthPathways
  • enlist Community HealthPathways clinical editors to help with Hospital HealthPathways content. Often those with recent hospital experience are reasonably comfortable to work across the two platforms
  • keep up momentum by publishing new localised content often
  • set up measures to show impact before and after launch.

As an example, same day emergency care (SDEC) staff regularly update their review guidelines and policies. However, with Hospital HealthPathways as a platform and fit for purpose, developing SDEC required much less clinical reviewer time. 

More information

To find out more about the work of the North Cumbria HealthPathways team, please email Phil Knighton, Programme Manager, email phil.knighton@nhs.net

If you have any other questions about this update, please have a chat with your lead writer.

Find out more about HealthPathways

If you’d like to know more about HealthPathways, or if your health jurisdiction hasn’t yet joined the HealthPathways Community please:

  • See HealthPathways Global for an overview 
  • Email info@healthpathwaysglobal.org or phone:
    • Within the United Kingdom: +44 20 3519 1964
    • Within Australia: +61 7 3559 2744
    • Within New Zealand: +64 3 595 2830