Developing an index of global healthcare innovation

There is much anecdote and received wisdom about healthcare innovation. But while the volume of research on healthcare innovation processes has grown, what is lacking is an evaluation of where different countries stand in relation to their healthcare innovation capacity – their capabilities for adopting innovative solutions developed elsewhere and for originating innovations themselves.

A tool for comparing indicators of healthcare innovation across countries would be valuable in two ways:

  • It would focus attention on the relative performance of a country’s health system in relation to innovation activity, pinpointing its strengths and weaknesses, identifying bottlenecks and issues for attention. This would enable policy makers and the healthcare sector – funders, providers, the supply chain – to identify and prioritize the levers that can have the greatest impact on innovation.
  • It would help medical technology and life sciences companies by providing an understanding of the attractiveness of each country’s health system as a market for their products, as a source of innovations, and as a location for R&D.

There has been work on measuring the ‘readiness’ of individual healthcare organizations such as hospitals to adopt innovations by scoring them against various theoretically-derived determinants. However, there has been little work on the creation of an international comparative healthcare innovation index. The few reports that exist are based on a small number of countries and limited and untheorized indicators.

In a preliminary study, funded by PIRU, with colleagues at Imperial College Business School, we reviewed existing indices on general innovation, entrepreneurship and health innovation, to understand the theoretical, technical and data requirements for building a global healthcare innovation index. We are now seeking funding to develop a prototype version of the index.

Project team: James Barlow, Erkko Autio, Tiago Cravo Oliveira, Eliana Barrenho, Antoine Vernet.

A working paper will be published by PIRU by the end of 2016.