Innovative new treatment pathways for injured New Zealanders

Released 03/12/2019

Around 50,000 injured New Zealanders are set to benefit from smoother, simpler and faster recovery journeys with the launch of the Escalated Care Pathways (ECP) service.

Partnering with selected health providers, the four-year pilot project will test innovative new ways of managing the recovery of people with non-acute knee, shoulder and lower-back injuries. Patients will follow an integrated, customised and coordinated plan to move them smoothly from injury to recovery.  

ECP patients will experience a service that meets all their needs for recovery – with everyone working together to provide the right treatment, at the right time.

Wrapping services around the patient

Following referral into an ECP pathway by primary care, a treatment plan will be developed with the patient by a team of interdisciplinary health professionals. The plan will include a package of services best for the patient, via a surgical or non-surgical clinical pathway, and a functional assessment will be completed for every patient prior to pathway exit. ECP patients needing more support to stay engaged in their treatment will be supported by a navigator or key worker.

ECP is designed for patients requiring more specialised and coordinated treatment than can be provided in primary care. However, the primary care provider will continue to have an important role in the recovery of the patient, including diagnostic referral if they are involved in ACC’s HTI programme.

Better outcomes, improved access

The four-year pilot project will test the impact on patient outcomes, including reduced risk of re-injury, reduction in unnecessary treatments and more timely access to surgery and rehabilitation. ECP will also have a strong focus on increasing access for Māori and Pasifika patients – with cultural responsiveness threaded throughout the pathways.

Rolling out across New Zealand

ECP has started rolling out in some regions and will be available in more areas in the New Year. Primary care providers can expect to hear from an ECP provider in their region with more information on referral processes and entry criteria. ACC will not be involved in referring patients into ECP.

As a pilot project, patient volumes will be capped over the four years. We'll make decisions about scaling to other providers, regions and injury types based on the trial outcomes. 

Our partnership commitment

The ECP provider partners were selected by ACC following a procurement process in 2018. Nearly fifty ideas to improve patient outcomes were submitted from groups of healthcare professionals from around the country. Following a shortlisting process, we worked closely with a small number of groups to co-design the new ECP pathways, and then contracted the service.

ECP is one of the first projects to explore new ways of working under our Health Sector Strategy – which aims to improve patients’ outcomes through closer collaboration with our providers. You can expect to hear more about this strategic vision, and how we’ll be seeking input from the sector, soon.

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