Effects of oncological care pathways in primary and secondary care on patient, professional, and health systems outcomes: Protocol for a systematic review and meta-analysis

Jolanda C. van Middelkoop-van Hoeve (Corresponding Author), Robin W.M. Vernooij, Adegboyega K. Lawal, Michelle Fiander, Peter Nieboer, Sabine Siesling, Thomas Rotter

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Background: The high impact of a cancer diagnosis on patients and their families and the increasing costs of cancer treatment call for optimal and efficient oncological care. To improve the quality of care and to minimize healthcare costs and its economic burden, many healthcare organizations introduce care pathways to improve efficiency across the continuum of cancer care. However, there is limited research on the effects of cancer care pathways in different settings. Methods: The aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis described in this protocol is to synthesize existing literature on the effects of oncological care pathways. We will conduct a systematic search strategy to identify all relevant literature in several biomedical databases, including Cochrane library, MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL. We will follow the methodology of Cochrane Effective Practice and Organisation of Care (EPOC), and we will include randomized trials, non-randomized trials, controlled before-after studies, and interrupted time series studies. In addition, we will include full economic evaluations (cost-effectiveness analyses, cost-utility analyses, and cost-benefit analyses), cost analyses, and comparative resource utilization studies, if available. Two reviewers will independently screen all studies and evaluate those included for risk of bias. From these studies, we will extract data regarding patient, professional, and health systems outcomes. Our systematic review will follow the PRISMA set of items for reporting in systematic reviews and meta-analyses. Discussion: Following the protocol outlined in this article, we aim to identify, assess, and synthesize all available evidence in order to provide an evidence base on the effects of oncological care pathways as reported in the literature. Systematic review registration: PROSPERO CRD42017057592.

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2018



  • Cancer
  • Care maps
  • Care pathways
  • Clinical pathways
  • Integrated care pathways
  • Oncology
  • Systematic reviews

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