TO-REACH – Transferring innovation in health systems

Programme: Horizon 2020
Project Status: COMPLETED (December 2016 – May 2021)


What aims and scope

To provide the groundwork for a future joint research programme that will contribute to the resilience, effectiveness, equity, accessibility and comprehensiveness of health services and systems. 

How it became possible 

With the objective to maximise the chances of success, the 28-partner consortium undertook two primary work streams:

  • Develop a research programme on cross-border learning from good (or even innovative) models of care and the conditions needed to transfer them to other settings for implementation.  Conceptual, methodologic and empiric advancement would be achieved through 4 meta-questions that would instruct research under a future joint research programme, linking to what counts as good models of care; what are the conditions required for transferability; what are the conditions for up-scaling; and how do they contribute to the performance of health care organisations and systems. 
  • Build a platform for funding organisations that allows for collaboration and coordination in the project and projected joint research programme.

Where EHMA delivered

In TO-REACH, EHMA led the dissemination and communications activities and actions. Leveraging prior engagement efforts, it enhances project visibility, stakeholder awareness, and knowledge sharing about the aims of the coordination and support action (CSA), its progress and outcomes. The strategy encompasses diverse media, materials, and methodologies for wide outreach.

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 733274. The content of this website reflects only the To-Reach consortium’s views. The European Union is not liable for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.


The TO-REACH project developed policy briefs aimed at policymakers and health managers, addressing two primary questions:

  • What are the key priority areas where European health systems can learn from one another?
  • How can we improve their ability to do so?

These briefs provide evidence on a policy matter or priority to support evidence-informed policymaking that could translate into concrete outputs at different levels. 

Furthermore, the project conceived and presented the Strategic Research Agenda, a living European strategy to advance the knowledge and understanding of the adoption, implementation and potential scale-up of service and policy innovations whilst addressing their translation to other settings within and across countries. It’s worth stems from:

  • The systematic analysis performed of priority challenges for service and policy innovations to strengthen health systems as identified from policy documents
  • The consultation roundtables held within Member States and a Europe-wide stakeholder survey
  • A comprehensive review of relevant academic literature


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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