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NICE to consult on digital health technologies guidance

08/02/21

Mark Say Managing Editor

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched a consultation its guidance on issues including digital health technologies.

Doctors with tablet and digital icons

The move is part of a broader exercise also taking in medical devices, diagnostics and medicines.

It is the third in a series of consultations on proposals for changes to the methods and processes NICE uses to produce its guidance on health technologies, and part of the largest review ever undertaken by the organisation.

The consultation document says that NICE has run two evaluation pilots of digital health technologies and expects to develop the new guidance primarily through medical technologies evaluation and diagnostics assessment programmes. It believes these would provide a flexible approach as the relevant technologies evolves quickly.

Among the proposals is to make the criteria for selecting topics for evaluation through NICE’s Highly Specialised Technologies programme clearer and more specific, and the outcome easier to understand and more predictable for stakeholders.

There are also proposals for aligning the current guidance programme processes, new process improvements and improving the commercial and managed access processes.

Critically important

Meindert Boysen, deputy chief executive and director of the Centre for Health Technology Assessment at NICE, said: “Ensuring rapid access to clinically and cost-effective health technologies is critically important to patients and their families, the NHS and the life sciences industry.

“To continue to support the needs and aspirations of all parts of the healthcare and life sciences ecosystem, NICE must ensure that its processes of health technology evaluation maintain and improve upon key objectives regarding quality, dependability, speed, flexibility and cost.

“These proposals present an important opportunity to achieve these objectives. By doing so, not only will NICE be better able to support patients and the NHS in accessing clinically and cost-effective health technologies, it will also ensure that we can play our part in ensuring the UK remains a first-launch country for important and promising new health technologies.”

The consultation is open until Tuesday, 15 April.

Image from iStock, metamorworks

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