Organising and Managing Patient Flows

Ageing of the population, rising costs of healthcare, growing expectations of service users regarding the quality of care, as well as the introduction of market competition have driven the healthcare organizsations to critically assess and improve their processes of care delivery. It is essential to balance supply and demand in order to increase the efficiency of the processes, i.e. to offer good care and treatments for reduced costs. To enable this, organisational, managerial and informational actions can be considered.

This course argues that a holistic understanding is required of three interconnected key topics:
a) the care delivery process (‘the basics and importance of flow’);
b) the organisational features of the process that are addressed in terms of e.g. the value definition (specifying value, mapping the value stream), value adding steps, layouts, process standardisation of work and partnerships; and
c) the management requirements and management issues regarding the process for the purpose of maintaining and improving flow.

During the first three weeks of the course, these three key topics are explored in depth from two conceptual perspectives: Socio-technical and Lean thinking. Healthcare organisations are currently interested in the possibilities of applying these perspectives and their principles, tools and techniques to care delivery processes. From a socio-technical perspective, attention is also given to digital transformation and its opportunities and challenges for designing disruptive care delivery processes. This course presents the main characteristics of both perspectives and critically investigates the possibilities of using them in healthcare. 

As of week 4 of the course, students can choose a project (training) that will enable them to apply and enhance the gained knowledge. The projects deal with the care delivery process, whereas one project focuses on the organisational design of flow and the other projects focus on managing process improvement and flow. In week 7 and 8, focus is on the examination (group portfolio and individual written unit test).

"Rising costs of healthcare, growing expectations of service users regarding care and increasing market competition are driving the healthcare organisations to improve the quality and efficiency of their processes of care delivery. Knowing how to organise and manage patient flows will help them to achieve this."
Mark Govers, PhD, course coordinator

Language of instruction

Language of instruction is English.


Participants in this course are healthcare managers, consultants, medical doctors and graduates from universities and universities of applied sciences who wish to enhance their knowledge about organising and managing patient flows and their skills in improving care delivery processes.


The course aims to enable students to analyse the characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of organising, managing and information provision of/for care delivery processes and to develop solutions to the problems encountered in the organisation and management of/for care delivery. At the end of the course, students must meet the following end terms:

Knowledge and understanding
The student:
1. has knowledge of innovative theories about the organisation and management of processes and patient flows and their applicability to healthcare.

Applying knowledge and understanding
The student:
2. is able to critically evaluate and apply these theories to analyse care delivery processes and to develop proposals for eliminating shortcomings in the organisation and management of/for care delivery processes;
3. can relate the acquired knowledge to the knowledge from other courses about innovations.

Making judgments
The student:
4. has a scientific – positive and critical – attitude;
5. is able to critically assess the applicability of organisational and managerial theories and related case accounts to healthcare;
6. is able to make judgments of current issues of (innovation of) the organisation, and management of/for care delivery processes using arguments from theory.

The student:
7. can express the knowledge and insights offered in this master's course in writing and orally;
8. can communicate effectively about the identification, analysis and alternation of processes in healthcare from a logistical viewpoint.

Learning skills
The student has the skills to use logistical theories, tools and techniques and socio-technical and lean-thinking conceptual perspectives:
9. to analyse the characteristics of logistical processes in healthcare;
10. to identify weaknesses in the organisation and management of/for care delivery processes;
11. to develop well-argued solutions for the encountered weaknesses.

The student has the skills:
12. to work in a collaborative setting.

Teaching methods 

Problem-Based and Team-Based Learning, group assignments, workshops, formal lectures, interactive lectures, self-assessment, group discussion, interactive lectures, training and projects. Examination consists of an individual test and a group portfolio.

Teaching staff

The teaching staff of the course consists of experts on patient logistics, organisation and management from Maastricht University. Further contributions are made by the industry and consultancy agencies.


Upon completion of the course, you can ask the FHML Exams office for a list of grades and a certificate.

Admission requirements

  • Bachelor’s or master’s degree or an equivalent
  • Sufficient English skills


Sign up by filling in one of the forms below:
 Application form for non-degree seeking students -  Master
 Aanmeldingsformulier contractonderwijs AIOS

Course/module code

Application deadline 
2 September 2019

Course fee

€ 1.680,- for the academic year 2019-2020 (with reservation)

    Start: 28 October 2019

    End: 20 December 2019


    Locations for the classes are at Maastricht University / Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences.

    More information

    Mark Govers, PhD (course coordinator)
    Department of Health Services Research
    Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences
    Maastricht University
    Location: Duboisdomein 30, room 0.041

    Phone: + 31 43 388 16 90
    Email: m.govers[at]maastrichtuniversity[dot]nl