Improving the efficiency of a chemotherapy day unit: Applying a business approach to oncology

W.A.M. van Lent, N. Goedbloed, Willem H. van Harten

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Aim: To improve the efficiency of a hospital-based chemotherapy day unit (CDU). - Methods: The CDU was benchmarked with two other CDUs to identify their attainable performance levels for efficiency, and causes for differences. Furthermore, an in-depth analysis using a business approach, called lean thinking, was performed. An integrated set of interventions was implemented, among them a new planning system. The results were evaluated using pre- and post-measurements. - Results: We observed 24% growth of treatments and bed utilisation, a 12% increase of staff member productivity and an 81% reduction of overtime. - Conclusions: The used method improved process design and led to increased efficiency and a more timely delivery of care. Thus, the business approaches, which were adapted for healthcare, were successfully applied. The method may serve as an example for other oncology settings with problems concerning waiting times, patient flow or lack of beds.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)800-806
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean journal of cancer
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Efficiency
  • Benchmarking
  • Organisational
  • METIS-253458
  • Outpatient clinics
  • Planning techniques
  • Cancer care facilities
  • Organisational case studies
  • IR-71409

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