Optimising Patient Care

In view of advances in knowledge and changes in population demographics and health care, the research line Optimising Patient Care (OPC) wants to provide better insight in effective prevention, diagnosis, treatment and prognosis of diseases in (primary) care and public health. We want to turn questions arising from clinical and public health practice into evidence that is applicable in practice itself.

Research and impact

We carry out studies among patients in general practice as well as secondary and tertiary care, and public health settings, evaluating new and existing care elements and strategies. In addition, we run and study population-based cohorts in order to discover new targets for prevention. We have a strong interest in strengthening prevention in the region. We make use of the latest methodological approaches, including prediction modelling, meta-research techniques and machine learning; in the process of designing and performing studies, we often develop innovative quantitative methodology that can also be used elsewhere in clinical and epidemiological research.


  • Floor van den Brand

    Catharina Pijls Dissertation Prize for Floor van den Brand

    Thursday, November 18, 2021

    Floor van den Brand has won the Catharina Pijls Dissertation Prize for her ‘excellent research in the field of health sciences’.

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  • Young woman smoking an e-cigarette

    Does e-cigarette use among young people lead to smoking, or vice versa?

    Monday, July 5, 2021
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  • Baby

    EUR 1.32 million for research into giving children a promising start using big data

    Thursday, July 1, 2021

    The Nationale Wetenschapsagenda (national science agenda) has granted a consortium of 25 other organisations, 1.32 million euro to give children a promising start using big data.

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  • Slapen 2

    Why you don’t need 8 hours of sleep at all, but at least 7 hours is recommended

    Monday, June 7, 2021

    Sleep has become a public health issue and is now seen as a lifestyle behavior. But what is good sleep? Recommendations are often contradictory and therefore confusing. Ree Meertens and Merijn van de Laar tell you what the science says about this topic. 

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  • Gezonde Basisschool van de Toekomst

    Healthy Primary School of the Future - online talkshow

    Tuesday, March 16, 2021

    Children become healthier when they have healthy lunches at school, exercise in different ways and learn about healthy behaviour while at school. This is the result of the Kennis As project Healthy Primary School of the Future. For four years, Maastricht University scientists compared more than 2200 children at four project schools with those at four regular schools. The successful project has become the focus of a special talkshow, which you can watch here.

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  • Laure_Wynants2

    Edmond Hustinx Prize 2020 goes to Laure Wynants

    Tuesday, March 2, 2021

    Laure Wynants together with a team of forty researchers from the Netherlands and abroad, started a living review to review and appraise all published papers on COVID-19 prediction models. She was awarded the Edmond Hustinx Prize 2020.

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  • Mark Spigt

    Mark Spigt new chair RL Optimising Patient Care

    Friday, January 1, 2021

    As of 1 January 2021, Mark Spigt is chair of the Research Line Optimising Patient Care (OPC).

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  • Covid ziekenhuis

    Intensive and palliative COVID-19 care by GPs relieved hospitals

    Thursday, December 17, 2020

    Dutch GPs provided intensive and palliative care outside the hospital to a large number of older and vulnerable COVID-19 patients. This way, they inadvertently contributed to preventing hospitals from becoming overloaded.

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  • Huisartsenzorg COVID19

    Onderzoek naar huisartsenzorg tijdens de COVID-19 pandemie van start

    Thursday, November 12, 2020

    Nivel and the University Medical Center Groningen, in collaboration with the Departments of Family Medicine of MUMC+ (RL Optimising Patient Care) and Radboud UMC Nijmegen, started a study (funded by ZonMw) into “Changes in organisation and use of care in GP practices and GP out-of-hours centres: lessons from the covid- 19 pandemic ”

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  • Gezonde basisschool toekomst

    A healthy school lunch and more exercise in primary school helps tackling obesity

    Thursday, November 5, 2020

    RIVM, Maastricht University / CAPHRI, Wageningen University & Research and VU University Amsterdam studied the support, feasibility, affordability and impact of healthy school lunches and more physical exercise at all Dutch primary schools. The results are promising.

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  • Floor van den Brand

    Cum laude for Floor van den Brand

    Wednesday, October 21, 2020

    On 21 October Floor van den Brand obtained her PhD with the Cum Laude predicate. She studied the effects of financial incentives for smoking cessation

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  • Futureproof Practice Family Medicine located in the South of Limburg

    Tuesday, October 13, 2020

    PlusPraktijken: a futureproof and sustainable practice in family medicine.

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  • Research shows urgent need to teach healthy habits in primary school

    Monday, September 21, 2020

    Children’s health improves if they have a healthy lunch at school, get varied exercise and are taught in class about healthy behaviour. These are the findings of the ‘Healthy Primary School of the Future’ project, the final results of which will be announced during a symposium in Venlo on Tuesday, September 22.

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  • Maurice Zeegers

    ‘This is a golden age for science’

    Friday, June 12, 2020

    Maurice Zeegers is not only professor of Complex Genetics and Epidemiology, but also scientific director of the Maastricht research school CAPHRI (Care and Public Health Research Institute). And during these corona times, he also functions as research partner of the WHO Evidence Collaborative. A discussion about the delicate balance between scientific rigour and social impact.

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  • Raissa Derckx

    Times that call for flexibility

    Friday, May 15, 2020

    One of the things Raissa Derckx looked forward to in her PhD was to focus her attention on one single subject. Fast forward to last month, when her supervisor told her she should probably consider herself a full-time coronavirus researcher for the time being, as her ‘own’ topic (chlamydia management in primary care) was coming to a relative stand-still due to the virus. Now she is involved in two important COVID-19 related research projects. 

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  • Corona longen

    Assessment of Corona Burden Tool

    Thursday, May 7, 2020

    The Assessment of Corona Burden Tool (Corona Ziektelastmeter), developed by Lung Foundation Netherlands and CAPHRI, helps people who were infected with the novel coronavirus to get more control over the complaints they may experience.

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  • Health in slums

    Biomass use and COVID-19: A novel concern

    Friday, April 24, 2020

    Evidence supports the link between air pollution and COVID-19 and thus it is likely that exposure to indoor smoke due to cooking increases the risk of COVID-19. An outbreak of COVID-19 in slum communities where the concept of physical distancing is next to impossible could easily overwhelm the public health system. 

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  • School stoelen

    The COVID-19 pandemic and ‘Healthy Childcare Centres of the Future’

    Saturday, April 11, 2020

    The measures being taken against the spread of the virus can have far-reaching consequences for running research projects. After several months of preparation PhD candidate Marla Hahnraths was ready to do baseline measurements at several childcare centres. But now the centres are closed. Read her story here.

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  • Life of Brian Timeline - Fietsen

    Bewegen is net zo belangrijk als binnenblijven

    Thursday, April 9, 2020

    Als binnenblijven tot gevolg heeft dat mensen meer stilzitten, dreigen IC-bedden weer eerder vol te raken, betogen Onno van Schayck en Maartje Willeboordse. 

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  • COVID-19 prediction models

    Good prediction models for COVID-19 are urgently needed

    Wednesday, April 8, 2020

    Prediction models for the coronavirus (COVID-19) are being developed worldwide: who runs a greater risk of getting it, which patients with symptoms actually have the virus, and what characteristics and test results are key to determining the progression of the disease? An international study of 31 models underlines the need for more data to be shared. ‘Most prediction models are currently not scientifically reliable enough to serve as a basis for medical decisions.’

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  • COVID-19 prediction models

    Good prediction models for COVID-19 are urgently needed

    Tuesday, April 7, 2020

    Researcher Laure Wynants of Maastricht University is concerned about the present situation. Together with a group of international researchers, she assessed all previously available prediction models for the early detection and progression of COVID-19. ‘Most prediction models are currently not scientifically reliable enough to serve as a basis for medical decisions.’

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  • Jochen Cals corona serie

    Report from the front lines by professor-general practitioner Jochen Cals

    Wednesday, March 25, 2020

    Some employees of Maastricht University are literally operating on the front lines these days. Professor of General Practice Medicine Jochen Cals is also a practicing general practitioner in Sittard, a city that is suffering from a relatively high number of coronavirus infections. What is his experience during these unique times?

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  • Risk-based obstetrics care in Limburg is bearing fruit

    Thursday, February 20, 2020

    PhD-research shows the positive effects on safety and financial benefits of risk-based obstetrics.

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  • Blokhuis Gezonde Basisschool

    Research into a national rollout of the Healthy Primary School of the Future

    Wednesday, November 20, 2019

    The healthy primary school is the future. This is evident from the choice of the municipalities of Brunssum, Heerlen, Sittard-Geleen and Maastricht to launch Healthy Primary School of the Future projects.

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  • Jochen Cals

    Inauguration prof. Jochen Cals

    Friday, June 28, 2019

    Prof. Jochen Cals is a versatile man; general practitioner (GP) in Sittard and researcher at the Department of Family Medicine. He gave his inaugural lecture on 28 June.

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  • Jochen Cals

    ‘Ik word een betere dokter als ik ook onderzoek doe’

    Friday, June 28, 2019

    Huisarts prof. dr. Jochen Cals hield op 28 juni 2019 aan Maastricht University zijn inaugurele rede over effectieve diagnostiek in de huisartsgeneeskunde. Titel van zijn rede: ‘Komt een test bij de huisarts’. Cals: ‘Ik wil graag bruikbare wetenschap naar de spreekkamer brengen.’

    ZonMw interviewde hem. Lees het interview hier. 

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  • Maria Jansen 20 jaar preventie ZonMw

    'Geef kinderen gelijke kansen om gezond op te groeien'

    Monday, June 24, 2019

    Gezondheid op school is meer dan fruit uitdelen of een beweegactiviteit opzetten. Het gaat om ‘lekker in je vel zitten’ en om zaken als veiligheid en respectvol met elkaar omgaan. Maar vooral: een systematische aanpak die alles met elkaar in verband brengt. In een interview met ZonMw vertelt Maria Jansen over de evaluatie van de Gezonde School-aanpak.

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  • Eefje de Bont

    Eefje de Bont awarded 2 prestigious NHG prizes

    Friday, June 21, 2019

    During the NHG Science Day, Eefje de Bont won the NHG Science Prize for her article on the study of the effect of an information booklet for parents of children with fever.

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  • CaRe Award 2019 for Eefje de Bont

    CaRe Award 2019 for Eefje de Bont

    Wednesday, May 8, 2019

    For the third year in a row the CaRe Award was awarded to a CAPHRI researcher: Out of 318 CaRe dissertations the thesis of Eefje de Bont (research line Optimising Patient Care) titled "Childhood fever in out-of-hours general practice" was selected as number one.

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  • The Healthy Primary School of the Future

    Public friendly booklet "The Healthy Primary School of the Future"

    Wednesday, May 1, 2019

    The first results of the project "The Healthy Primary School of the Future" are more than encouraging: children have started to behave more vitally and more socially.

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  • Promising results for The Healthy Primary School of the Future

    Tuesday, February 19, 2019

    An interim evaluation of the project ‘The Healthy Primary School of the Future’ (De Gezonde Basisschool van de Toekomst, GBT) shows promising results: children who participate in the GBT programme exercise more, eat healthier and maintain a healthier weight.

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  • The key to a healthy generation is the school lunch

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Less than 1% of Dutch children eats 150 gram vegetables per day, as recommended by the WHO. Therefore, it should become custom to eat vegetables during breakfast and lunch.

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  • Prize for Eefje de Bont

    Early Career Research Prize for Eefje de Bont

    Tuesday, March 28, 2017

    Eefje de Bont, PhD candidate and GP trainee at the Department of Family Medicine, was awarded the Early Career Research Prize from the Society for Academic Primary Care. 

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Projects and partners

Here we provide insights into what topics our research projects are tackling, who the actors involved in them are, and how our research enables doctors and public health workers to deliver care and care-related prevention that is optimally suited to every individual.   

Ziektelastmeter voor Chronische Aandoeningen
Earlier diagnosis and improved pharmacotherapy for Dutch preschool children with asthma-like symptoms by using the innovative breath test
Childhood Infections Limburg (CHILI): Optimizing management and medication of febrile children in out-of-hours primary care
The Healthy Primary School of the Future
Continuous Abstinence Through Corporate Healthcare (CATCH)

Living Labs

Research Line Optimising Patient Care participates in the following Living Lab:



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Here you can find an overview of staff members connected to the research line:

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