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Evaluation of care pathways in specialist mental health and substance abuse treatment services

In January 2019, care pathways within specialist mental health and substance abuse treatment services were officially launched in Norway (pakkeforløp for psykisk helse og rus). SINTEF evaluated this reform the first two years after introduction. The evaluation emphasized employees', managers' and users' experiences with the changes - and results related to central targets.

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The aim of national care pathways (“pakkeforløp”) was to strengthen the overall treatment offer through increased emphasis on user participation, coherent and coordinated patient courses, avoiding waiting times, more equal services regardless of where you live in the country, and better follow up of somatic health.

About the evaluation

Commissioned by the Norwegian Directorate of Health, SINTEF evaluated the implementation and effects of “pakkeforløp” in the first two years, after introduction in January 2019. Two reports have been published, one on employees' perceptions of the changes in the management of the package process, which came at the beginning of 2020, and one with users their experiences, as well as a new round of employees, who arrived at the start of 2021 (links to the two reports below).

The Government decided in the autumn of 2022 to change from “nasjonale pakkeforløp” to “nasjonale pasientforløp”, which, in addition to the name change, meant that the Norwegian Directorate of Health had to do changes to develop and simplify the content and monitoring of activities and registration connected to the pathway-system. This change, combined with the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic limited the health service's capacity to implement the package processes, meant that the Directorate of Health decided to end the ongoing evaluation.

The Directorate of Health announced a new national user survey. SINTEF received this assignment and conducted, in 2023, a national user survey among users and patients in outpatient clinics, mental health care and substance abuse treatment. More than 34 000 patients participated.

The Norwegian Health Directorate’s decision to change from package progress to patient progress (only in Norwegian)

Key Factors

Project duration

2019 - 2021

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