Early assessment of innovation projects with EARTH

There has been an increase in the development and use of innovative medical technology in hospitals both in Denmark and in the rest of the world, and expectations for innovation projects, such as telemedicine, drones, apps and healthcare IT, are often very high. But an interview study shows that only one in ten innovation projects goes into operation and delivers value in terms of clinical effect, patient experience, finances, etc.

The chance of success can be increased by hospital managements (and foundations or companies) receiving help to critically assess the technology and its expected value at an early stage in a development process. In this way, the hospital can use the resources on the new initiatives, which are likely to achieve the expected gains and make a positive difference when implemented in day-to-day operations. The hope is that this will result in better use of the funds spent on innovation for the benefit of both hospitals, patients and society.


The PhD project therefore developed the model EARTH (Early Realistic assessment of innovative medical Technologies in Hospitals) to assess the expected value of innovative medical technology at an early stage. Value must be understood broadly and includes the expected future effect on clinical, patient, financial, technical and organizational aspects.


The research project examined how early assessment of innovative technologies takes place – primarily in the private healthcare industry. A qualitative study of early assessment used in the health sector was conducted as well as a literature review. That knowledge formed the basis for developing EARTH. EARTH is being tested for the first time to make an early assessment of the value of the Health Drones project.

EARTH has a total of six steps and central to this is an ongoing assessment, which analyzes whether:

  1. The development in selected kpi (key performance indicators) is positive
  2. Whether the level of risk is reduced during the early development of innovative technology
  3. Whether evidence and documentation of the expected effects is strengthened over time.
The early assessment can be used to support development decisions in the project, as well as “go / no-go”. Ie. hospital management or steering comittee can use the early assessment to decide at crucial times in the development process whether it makes sense to develop further on the innovation project.


Start: August 2014
End: September 2017


  • See Ibens publikations from the University of Southern Denmark here.
  • See Ibens profile at ResearchGate.
  • Read an article about EARTH via this link.
  • Read the interview study about early assessment.
  • Read a review of models for  early assessment.


The project was carried out in collaboration with Theta Collaborative, including Professor Murray Krahn, who heads THETA. The supervising team consisted of research leader Kristian Kidholm, senior researcher Knud Bonnet Yderstræde and professor Kjeld Møller Pedersen (main supervisor).


Early assessment of innovation projects with EARTH, Early assessment of innovation projects with EARTH


Iben Fasterholdt

Iben Fasterholdt

HTA consultant | (+45) 2979 6704 | [email protected]

Kristian Kidholm

Kristian Kidholm

Head of Research, Professor | (+45) 3058 6477 | [email protected]