ECHO – European Collaboration for Healthcare Optimisation

Programme: Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)
Project Status: COMPLETED (March 2010 – February 2014)


What aims and scope

To describe the actual performance of six different healthcare systems, including in hospital and health systems areas, and at regional and national levels.

How it became possible 

Over the course of four years, the project undertook two different methodologic approaches to tackle the issue of performance measurement:

  • A population- and geographic-based response to the question of “Is the access to a diagnostic or surgical procedure depends on the place where a person lives?” 
  • A provider-specific response to the question of “Is the risk for a patient to access high-quality care–and have better health outcomes–different per the provider in which that individual is admitted?

In the former approach, the project examined utilisation, equity in access and allocative efficiency as performance measures. In the latter, healthcare outcomes and associated outcomes were the studied components. 

The international effort then brought together hospital databases of several European countries and made the data available via an online summary tool.

Where EHMA delivered

In ECHO, EHMA led the dissemination and communications activities and actions. Our approach was driven by these specific objectives:

  • Ensuring that policy makers can engage with and act on the evidence
  • Establishing an ongoing group of policy makers from all countries to build expertise in interpreting and using the data;
  • Facilitating face-to-face dissemination of findings;
  • Testing preliminary recommendations with experts and practitioners;
  • Making all advice and communications policy relevant.


EU logo
This project has received funding under Grant Agreement number 242189 from FP7-HEALTH – Specific Programme “Cooperation”: Health. This page and the publications contained herein only reflect the author’s views. The European Union is not liable for any use that might be made of the information contained in this page and publications.


The ECHO concept and methods have been recognised as meaningful by several international institutions, being one of the Health Systems Performance Assessment (HSPA) initiatives highlighted at the EC experts’ group on health systems performance assessment.

ECHO has offered the potential to improve access to quality health care across Europe.

You can explore the collection of scientific papers reflecting the work done by the project in the European Journal of Public Health – Special Issue.


Related Projects

HealthBASKET – Health benefits and service costs in Europe

HealthBASKET – Health benefits and service costs in Europe

HealthBASKET defines and compares available health services across the EU and develops methodologies to assess costs and prices of individual services. 

View More
HealthACCESS – Mapping health services access: national and cross-border issues

HealthACCESS – Mapping health services access: national and cross-border issues

HealthACCESS maps issues regarding access to appropriate health services within countries that can either encourage or prohibit cross-border flows and structures, contacts and procedures established w...

View More
Developing Public Health Capacity in the EU – A review of the capacity of EU Member States to develop and implement public health policies and interventions

Developing Public Health Capacity in the EU – A review of the capacity of EU Member States to develop and implement public health policies and interventions

The project reviews the current public health capacity in Europe and sets out recommendations for European Union action and support.

View More

What our Members say

I have been active in EHMA since the first years of the '90s and I have seen its evolution from a small association of members interested in sharing knowledge on health management practices to the current status of reference and advisory key player for EU, health systems and organisations, stakeholders associations, industry and universities. EHMA is now a unique knowledge hub, policy advisor, community of practice and network of best in class organisations involved in health policy and management. A place where health managers can build their competences, policy-makers and stakeholder associations envision how to implement and sustain change through health management, industry leaders understand how to engage more effectively with health organisations and systems. The right place to nurture and grow health management capabilities and capacity for every stakeholder of health systems.

Prof. Federico Lega, University of Milan, Italy

Health management has a crucial function in shaping public health and health system challenges. The Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria had success in collaborating with EHMA on EU-funded projects that has resourced us to create new health management competencies for the future workforce. In addition to all classical definitions, health management is a science dealing with individuals, groups, and society at large. It is an art contributing to the beauty of our lives and an interactive communication process at all levels of institutions and human energy. I have also had the pleasure to chair the South Eastern European Special Interest Group which gives members a space to discuss and tools to address how health systems are managed in our regions.

Prof. Todorka Kostadinova, Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria

I enjoy the high level of interaction and engagement in EHMA’s activities, in particular during the annual conference where the panel discussions are rich and well prepared. As a hospital manager and professor of health management, EHMA motivates and inspires me to be creative. You go back home feeling energised from seeing old friends and making new connections, as well as being convinced of serving as EHMA’s ambassador. It’s a strong feeling of interdisciplinary engagement, but it also feels like being part of family-like community.

Prof. Sandra C. Buttigieg, University of Malta, Malta

EHMA is a pre-eminent organisation for everyone working in planning, managing and delivering health services across Europe. As a long standing member of EHMA I have always been impressed by the vibrant community of managers, researchers and academics it has created and by the many opportunities for sharing knowledge and funding opportunities it has brought to its members. Its international scope is impressive and its impact is often felt in management and research across European and national health systems.

Prof. Axel Kaehne, Edge Hill University, UK

Health workforce has become more essential in operating, managing and maintaining health systems lately, particularly in crisis and emergency situations. European healthcare professions and the workforce need to be high on the agenda of managers and decision makers. The Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University in Hungary is a longstanding EHMA member, because it connects us with collaborators and experts, with whom we can have complex debates, from whom we can learn and at the end find solutions in various challenging fields of healthcare management.

Dr Eszter Kovács, Health Services Management Training Centre, Semmelweis University, Hungary

As a hospital administrator and health management professor, I see on a daily basis that the healthcare challenges require talented and skilled managers to transform it. the EHMA membership has been beneficial to bring healthcare management research and education to the demanding healthcare services world, promoting healthcare management competencies and knowledge creation.

Dr Alexandre Lourenco, APAH - Association of Portuguese Hospital Managers, Portugal

Many healthcare systems in Europe and beyond are facing similar challenges which require innovative and creative solutions. EHMA’s annual conference, webinars, Programme Directors’ group and other activities and resources provide incredible opportunities for networking, connecting and sharing experiences. A distinct feature of EHMA is the diversity of members with representation from many countries, sectors and different communities of practice – academic, policy-makers, practitioners, managers, leaders and students. The annual conference is a highlight in the calendar year, offering a friendly, fun and learningful environment for emerging and established members to engage, collaborate and meet up with old and new friends. I am proud to be a member of the EHMA Board.

Prof. Ann Mahon, University of Manchester, UK

Society evolution, pandemics and ageing modify health needs. So, health policies and services are to change dramatically. EHMA, through webinars, workshops and annual conference provides an excellent insight to a professional changing world, favouring closeness to management innovation and the protagonists of these changes. As a primary care services’ manager, participating in EHMA activities is really worth it and allows to involve oneself in the innovation processes.

Dr Antoni Peris Grao, Consorci Castelldefels Agents de Salut (CASAP), Spain