Although eHealth innovations often look promising, scaling-up of these activities is a slow process, if it happens at all. The Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport is hoping to change this. As part of the program Innovation and care improvement (Innovatie en zorgvernieuwing), they embarked on a project to explore how the government can help overcome current hurdles in scaling up eHealth innovations.
As part of the pilot project, three so-called ‘Innovation Brokers’ have explored how they can contribute towards scaling up successful initiatives. Each broker focused on one particular part of the Netherlands: Amsterdam, Utrecht and Health Valley in the Eastern part of the Netherlands. Support was only available to scale-ups and field labs that showed promising outlooks in terms of economic and/or societal impact.
This project required a unique combination of knowledge and skills. The Innovation Studies researchers at Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development were asked to monitor the progress of the three Innovation Brokers. As part of the monitoring process Copernicus researchers discussed progress with each intermediate, joined in on important events and even checked in on their diaries. They also interviewed the supported scale-ups and field labs to investigate their expectations, needs and evaluation of the project. The preliminary results of the pilot project were discussed in a workshop setting with the Innovation Brokers and other interested stakeholders within the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport.