Hospitals are organizations mainly focused on providing healthcare to their patients. However, this function coexists with research and teaching future doctors and nurses. This triple mission comprises knowledge creation, sharing, diffusion, and use, and therefore innovation is constant at different levels of health care providing. Additionally, some hospitals have shown the ability to transfer their knowledge to the industry in several ways (, patents licenses, NDAs, consultancy, or clinical trials). The technology transferred by hospitals come from two primary sources. On the one hand, research conducted by clinicians generates both medical devices and drugs. On the other, many ideas emerge spontaneously from the everyday (clinical) practice of clinical, nursing, ancillary and administrative staff. Besides, many of such “innovations” are never transferred but used internally contributing to improving processes’ efficiency, cost reduction, or to increase social returns of healthcare (, shorter length of stays, mortality reduction, or increasing life quality and expectancy).
The above description of the different ways of innovation where hospitals can be involved goes beyond the concept of the entrepreneurial hospital stated by French and Miller (2016). For this reason, we considered it was necessary to establish a theoretical framework capable of comprising all the different processes of innovation where hospitals participate. In this piece of research, we introduce the essential elements of the Guide of analysis of innovation for hospitals created within the project “Towards the Oslo Manual for Hospital” funded by the Spanish Cotec Foundation (Cotec, 2017).