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NICE publishes health tech evidence standards

17/12/18

Mark Say Managing Editor

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has published a set of digital health evidence standards to support the development of new technology in healthcare.

Stethoscope on computer keyboard

Named the NICE Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Health Technologies, they are aimed at helping tech companies, grant funders, investors and commissioners understand what a good degree of evidence looks like in regard to effectiveness and economic impact.

The move comes from the Digital Health Evidence Project, in which NICE took part with NHS England, Public Health England, funding brokerage body MedCity and tech accelerator organisation DigitalHealth.London.

The standards are split into two frameworks, covering evidence of how effective the technology could be in its intended use, and its likely economic impact.

In a video presentation, Dr Indra Josh, clinical lead for NHS England, says: “We’ve seen a lot of innovations come out on the market in recent years. A lot of them have been good, some of them not so good. We’ve really struggled to define a standard of what good looks like.”

Alexia Tonnel, director of evidence resources at NICE, adds: “We want to know what to advise innovators what type of evidence they have to generate to demonstrate the effectiveness of their tool and the value for money.”

The framework has been developed with numerous stakeholders in the NHS and tech industry. One of its purposes is to help NHS commissioners assess the likely value of new digital tools.

Proportional approach

NICE said that both parts of the framework take a proportional approach to defining evidence standards, due to the sparsity of evidence available in the field and the challenges involved in developing clinical trials for the technologies. It said this can also help with the opportunities to collect real world data to inform judgements on their effectiveness.

It added that the work directly supports the principles of the Department of Health and Social Care’s code of conduct for data driven care technology.

Image by jfcherry, CC BY-SA 2.0 through flickr

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