Publications How do we ensure that innovation in health service delivery and organization is implemented, sustained and spread?

A report by the European Observatory on Health Systems and Policies - Available online


This policy brief is one of a new series to meet the needs of policy-makers and health system managers. The aim is to develop key messages to support evidence-informed policy-making.

Countries in Europe are experimenting with innovative ways of organizing and delivering health care to better meet people’s increasingly diverse health and care needs. In practice, it has been difficult to translate necessary change into large-scale, sustainable and effective strategies. Implementing innovations is complex and there is a need to better understand the key factors that support the successful introduction of service innovation, from adoption to sustaining, spreading and scaling.

This policy brief is a contribution to this effort by (i) reviewing the main frameworks and factors that have been identified as supportive for the successful introduction of innovation in service organization and delivery and (ii) illustrating these factors using selected examples of service innovations in European countries. We define service innovation in health service delivery and organization as a novel set of behaviours, routines, and ways of working that are discontinuous with previous practice, are directed at improving health outcomes, administrative efficiency, cost-effectiveness, or users’ experience and that are implemented by planned and coordinated actions.