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Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2019 Jan;35(1):17-26. doi: 10.1017/S0266462318003719. Epub 2019 Feb 12.

Early assessment of innovation in a healthcare setting.

Author information

Oslo University Hospital,Centre for Connected Care.
University of Oslo,Institute for Health and Society.
University of Odense,Centre for Innovative Medical Technology.



Early assessment can assist in allocating resources for innovation effectively and produce the most beneficial technology for an institution. The aim of the present study was to identify methods and discuss the analytical approaches applied for the early assessment of innovation in a healthcare setting.


Knowledge synthesis based on a structured search (using the MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases) and thematic analysis was conducted. An analytical framework based on the stage of innovation (developmental, introduction, or early diffusion) was applied to assess whether methods vary according to stage. Themes (type of innovation, study, analysis, study design, method, and main target audience) were then decided among the authors. Identified methods and analysis were discussed according to the innovation stage.


A total of 1,064 articles matched the search strategy. Overall, thirty-nine articles matched the inclusion criteria. The use of methods has a tendency to change according to the stage of innovation. Stakeholder analysis was a prominent method in the innovation stages and particularly in the developmental stage, as the introduction and early diffusion stage has more availability of data and may apply more complex methods. Barriers to the identified methods were also discussed as all of the innovation stages suffered from lack of data and substantial uncertainty.


Although this review has identified applicable approaches for early assessment in different innovation stages, research is required regarding the value of the available data and methods and tools to enhance interactions between different parties at different stages of innovation.


Early assessment; Health innovation; Health technology assessment; Knowledge synthesis; Organizational innovation


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