Background: To identify the current situation and further research direction of clinical pathway management in China.
Methods: The published time, research institutions, key words of the literatures obtained from China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), VIP and Wanfang databases were analyzed by using Citespace software.
Results: The clinical pathway research in China has been carried out for 20 years, with delivering about447.3 articles per year. The number of articles reached its peak in 2012, and then decreased year by year. The research field focuses on nursing clinical pathway, health education and clinical pathway teaching, and the research institutions are scattered and lack of inter-agency cooperation.
Conclusions: At present, the clinical pathway research in China is insufficient incorporation with medical quality control and performance evaluation, the adjustment of medical service expenses, the reform of payment mode, and the information construction of medical institutions.
Practice Implications: How to combine clinical pathway effectively with medical quality control, with DRGs performance evaluation, with medical insurance payment reform, with information construction and with hierarchical diagnosis and treatment is worthy further exploration.