Clinical Care Processes

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Overview of clinical care

In this section we will focus on the key aspects of clinical practice, diagnosis and treatment of patients who present for care. An old professor explained the problem succinctly in the following way. “ In the course of clinical practice you will come across three types of patients. The first are the easy patients whom you know what they have and you know what to do; the second are a little more difficult, in that you don’t know what they have but you still know what to do. The third group, the hardest, are those whom you don’t know what they have and you don’t know what to do.” Deciding what patients have is diagnosis, deciding what to do is treatment. In practice life is not quite so simple. We must also manage time. If a patient’s condition is critical, we often need to act before knowing a patient's diagnosis. Here we will consider the flow of people through illness and clinical care. This is often referred to as a care pathway. We will also consider errors, work pressure, clinical reasoning and learning.

Topics in Clinical Care


  • Patients can flow through Care Processes, Locations and interact with Services, abstracted as service processes. Time delays and errors related to performance and the biopsychosocial responses of the body and self determine when and if we run out of time and margins of error. To minimise the loss and improve the recovery time, resilience concepts can be useful. My our interest is in how technologies, information and communication can improve health systems, especially the clinical care process and the human-human service interaction.

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