Implementation research for scaling up and transfer of innovative solutions involving digital tools for people-centred care

SC1-DTH-13-2020 (RIA Research and Innovation action)

People-centred care is one of the main goals of health systems[1]. It relates to a stronger orientation towards the needs of people and their involvement in the treatment process and decision-making. This is expected to result in a better care as experienced by people, in less inequality, better health promotion, better disease prevention, and treatments better targeted to people’s needs. Health system transition to people-centred care requires empowering citizens[2] and integration of services[3].

The growing digital transformation of health and care offers great opportunity to achieve this transition. Innovative solutions[4] involving digital tools have the potential to improve people-centred care through self-management, goal orientation and shared decision-making. However, technical innovation is unlikely to achieve the anticipated improvements/impact if not accompanied by supportive organisational and policy innovations. Given the complexity and differences between health systems, cross-national comparative health services and systems research as well as implementation research are needed to better understand the contextual factors that impact the successful introduction, use and sustainability of innovative solutions. This will in turn facilitate their scalability[5] and their transferability to other settings.


Proposals should study the scaling-up or transferability of an innovative solution involving digital tools, i.e. the conditions under which it can be implemented in other health systems and whether it can have the same intended effect.

To address this specific challenge, the proposals should:

  • Identify an innovative solution involving digital tools (or a set of comparable innovations developed in parallel in different settings) with the potential to enhance people-centred care. The selected innovative solution should be described and supported by sufficient documented evidence on its effectiveness in specific contexts and if possible cost-effectiveness.
  • Design and conduct an implementation study to collect either prospectively or retrospectively (depending on the maturity of the innovative solution) the evidence needed to inform the successful scaling up or transfer to different health systems with particular focus on the contextual factors including legal, ethical, behavioural and social issues.
  • Identify the key aspects for scaling up or transfer, identify potential barriers, necessary measures/changes as well as facilitators to adopt the solution.
  • Develop a prediction model to help decision-makers decide on the implementation of the solution as well as guidance to assess the future impact of the transferred solution on health system performance.

Proposals should be multidisciplinary, bringing together expertise in health services and systems research, human and social sciences and implementation research[6]. The main focus should be on improving people-centeredness in Europe but solutions can originate from non-European countries. Gender aspects should be taken into account. Careful consideration should be given to vulnerable groups. Relevant stakeholders including end-users of research and patients’ organisations should be identified and involved throughout the project lifetime. Innovative approaches in gathering patients input should be considered.

The proposals should complement or build on existing initiatives, including (but not limited to) results of EU-funded projects[7].

Selected proposals should provide evidence to support the third pillar of the Communication from the Commission on enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market, ''Digital tools for citizens empowerment and person-centred care[8]".

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU Horizon 2020 research programme of between EUR 3 and 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

  • Availability of methods and strategies for the implementation of innovative, ethically and legally sustainable solutions aiming at improving people-centred care
  • A better understanding of organisational and system changes, as well as social and behavioural changes required to successfully embed evidence-based innovative solutions involving digital tools into daily practice and ensure their sustainability
  • Increased scaling up and transfer of innovative solutions improving people-centred care in Europe
  • In the medium and long-term, health services more responsive to the needs of people and their carers (formal and informal), more effective, efficient and equitable health systems.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Open Innovation

[1]World Health Organization 2016. What are integrated people-centred health services?…

[2]Empowering citizens refers among others to enhancing their self management, raising health literacy, involving people through co-production of care and supporting informal carers.

[3]The concepts of integrated services and people-centred care are complementary to each other. Person-centredness not only requires involving people to explore their needs and come to shared decisions about treatment, but also a system-wide policy and organisation of services. Integrated care principles allow care for patients to be better coordinated, and jointly planned by the health and social care professionals across relevant preventive and curative services.

[4]The term “innovative solutions” refers to any service or policy innovations. It encompasses technological innovations, organisational innovations and public health policies. Organisational innovation should be understand in a broad sense including governance, payment, information systems, roles and skills in attaining efficient health care organisations when introducing new technologies.

[5]Scalability is used in the sense of the uptake in larger numbers of the same innovation in comparable organisations and/or in the same sector.

[6]Implementation research refers to the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings into routine healthcare in clinical, organizational or policy contexts



show less...

Date de candidature
Humanités : Philosophie, théologie et religion, Anthropologie & Ethnologie
Sciences sociales : Démographie, Economie, Sciences environnementales, Identités, genre et sexualités, Géographie, Droit, Science politique, Psychologie et sciences cognitives, Sociologie
Autres : Informatique, Médecine