Compliance with clinical pathways for inpatient care in Chinese public hospitals.

Journal Article (Journal Article)


The National Health and Family Planning Commission of China has issued more than 400 clinical pathways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of medical care delivered by public hospitals in China. The aim of our study is to determine whether patient care is compliant with national clinical pathways in public general hospitals of Pudong New Area in Shanghai.


We identified the clinical pathways established by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China for 5 common conditions (community-acquired pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction (AMI), heart failure, cesarean section, type-2 diabetes). We randomly selected patients with each condition admitted to one of 7 public general hospitals in Pudong New Area in China in January, 2013. We identified key process indicators (KPIs) for each pathway and, based on chart review for each patient, determined whether the patient's care was compliant for each indicator. We calculated the proportion of care which was compliant with clinical pathways for each indicator, the average proportion of indicators that were met for each patient, and the proportion of patients whose care was compliant for all measures. For selected indicators, we compared compliance rates among hospitals in our study with those from other countries.


Average compliance rates across the KPIs for each condition ranged from 61 % for AMI to 89 % for pneumonia. The percent of patient receiving fully compliant care ranged from 0 for AMI and heart failure to 39 % for pneumonia. Compared to the compliance rate for process indicators in the hospitals of other countries, some rates in the hospitals that we audited were higher, but some were lower.


Few patients received care that complied with all the pathways for each condition. The reasons for low compliance with national clinical pathways and how to improve clinical quality in public hospitals of China need to be further explored.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • He, XY; Bundorf, MK; Gu, JJ; Zhou, P; Xue, D

Published Date

  • October 6, 2015

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 15 /

Start / End Page

  • 459 -

PubMed ID

  • 26445427

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC4595105

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1472-6963

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1472-6963

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1186/s12913-015-1121-8


  • eng