Cancer patient pathways in Denmark as a joint effort between bureaucrats, health professionals and politicians--a national Danish project

Health Policy. 2012 Apr;105(1):65-70. doi: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2011.11.001. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


In 2007 and 2008 Danish Cancer Patient Pathways for 32 cancer types were developed and afterwards implemented on a national scale. Often bureaucrats, health professionals and politicians look upon the health sector in different ways and work independent of each other. In Denmark, as indeed internationally, patient pathways are frequently developed solely by health professionals and the consequence may be major difficulties in implementing the pathways on a national scale. In this article we describe how national Danish Cancer Patient Pathways were developed with a consensus seeking model and the impact it has had on the health system. The model used in Denmark ensured involvement and cooperation between bureaucrats, health professionals and politicians and afterwards a successful national implementation. The Cancer Patient Pathways has significantly reduced waiting times which is thought to increase survival. This experience gives important input to the continuous challenges on how to implement evidence based medicine on a national scale and stipulates a model for this process.

MeSH terms

  • Cooperative Behavior
  • Critical Pathways / organization & administration*
  • Denmark
  • Government Agencies
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Models, Organizational
  • National Health Programs / organization & administration
  • Neoplasms / mortality
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Politics
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Waiting Lists