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Optimizing oncology care pathways

The University Medical Center Utrecht (UMC-Utrecht) is a center of excellence for oncology care that has over 20 oncologic subspecialties. This facility was looking to enhance their care pathways for oncology patients. They aimed to improve their time-to-treatment and expand their collaboration and alignment with other centers in the Netherlands.

Based on prior successes with Philips consultancy in the imaging department, the organization wanted to extend that success to optimize their oncology careflows.

Using a rapid approach based on continuous quality improvement in healthcare, the Philips consultants conducted a focused assessment of the current state to identify opportunities for improvement. Intensive multidisciplinary workshops were conducted to co-create plans for short-, mid- and long-term solutions.

The careflow optimization process really made us aware of obstacles in our multi-disciplinary setup. By identification, prioritization and modification we were able to improve our setup and further optimize the care for our head and neck oncology patients.”

-W. W. Braunius, E.N.T. Surgeon

University Medical Center Utrecht

Our Approach

The Philips consultants carried out different projects on pre-agreed short timeframes. They:

  • Carried out stakeholder interviews and observations of patient flow and staff experience
  • Conducted a focused assessment of the current state using data analytics
  • Proposed a single patient-centered care approach to replace the two existing ENT (ear, nose and throat surgery) and OMF (oral and maxillofacial surgery) care pathways
  • Advised the organization in restructuring its gynecologic oncology tumor board
  • Collaborated closely with the UMC-Utrecht project team and assisted the various oncology departments in implementing the new careflows

Careflow optimization is carried out by Philips healthcare consulting experts in quality improvement in healthcare projects.


Philips helped facilitate the restructuring of the tumor board meetings, increasing their effectiveness in confirming the diagnosis, developing the treatment plan and reducing the time-to-treatment. This has also reduced tumor board meeting time by 40%.

A pilot program has started for a revised referral intake process for head and neck oncology patients. A nurse specialist has been appointed as “patient navigator” during the initial treatment planning appointment.

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