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Strengthening strategic positioning to provide better healthcare to children
  • Our client is an academic children’s hospital in The Netherlands looking to strengthen their position as a third-line healthcare provider.

  • We conducted an extensive portfolio analysis to uncover the hospital’s distinguishing factor.

  • Our findings identified the hospital’s key focus areas and allowed them to achieve the performance indicators defined by the Dutch healthcare system: quality, affordability and accessibility.

At a glance:

Setting the scene: First-line, second-line and third-line healthcare in The Netherlands

To better understand how we helped our client, an academic children’s hospital in The Netherlands, it is important to understand how the Dutch healthcare system is structured:


  1. First-line care: general practitioners, physical therapists, dentists, psychologists and midwives.

  2. Second-line care: hospitals with medical specialists, after referral from first-line caregivers. There are currently 100 second-line hospitals in the country.

  3. Third-line care: academic hospitals like our client, who specialize in more complex cases and surgeries, and rare diseases. Third-line hospitals also educate healthcare students and conduct key research on their focus areas. There are currently seven academic hospitals in The Netherlands.

It is also important to note that the costs (for both patients and healthcare providers) increase with each line of care.

Our client’s challenge: Quality, affordability and accessibility

Prompted by a nationwide movement to make healthcare more affordable, our client set out to strengthen their position as a third-line hospital.

This would help them reach the performance indicators defined by the Dutch healthcare system:

  1. High-quality patient experience

  2. Affordable costs of care

  3. Accessibility to care


To achieve these goals and provide the best care to its patients, our client aimed to (re)define its vision and mission. The goal was to draw up a clear, recognizable and broadly aligned portfolio and value proposition, asking important questions like, “What kind of care do we currently deliver?” and “What is our performance on delivering this care?”


Enter IG&H: Information gathering & analysis

We conducted an extensive portfolio analysis in which we gathered key information about the hospital. This included the number of patients, origin of patients, types of diagnoses, costs and revenue of care, number of surgeries, duration of hospital stays, market share compared to other hospitals and topics, and finally both quality and quantity of research and education.

We interviewed the hospital’s department heads and medical specialists, like cardiologists and surgeons, to validate our findings. We also had multiple sessions with the management team to find out what is important for them.

We wanted to uncover their distinguishing factor and identify how the client could provide unique, specialized care to position itself (inter)nationally as a frontrunner on specific diagnoses. Therefore, we also analyzed the correlation between the hospital’s diagnoses and its published research in an effort to determine whether there was a match between their research and the care they offered.