NICE completes first digital health technologies assessment as part of pilot project

NICE has completed its first assessment using its digital health technologies guidance development standards. The standards are part of a process for new technologies to evaluate if they are clinically effective and offer economic value.

The aim of the standards is to make it easier for innovators and commissioners to understand what good levels of evidence for digital healthcare technologies look like. It also evaluates technologies whether they meet the needs of the health and care system, patients, and users.

The project is focused on assessing whether or not NICE’s existing methods and processes for evaluation can be effectively applied to advanced digital technologies; current focus is on those with the highest “clinical, financial and/or operational” risk.

The first assessment carried out by the pilot project was on a service called Zio XT, which is used to detect abnormal heart rhythms in patients.

In their article sharing this success, NICE expressed that they are “excited” about the benefits that digital health technologies can bring, and will “work with [our] system partners to ensure that effective and cost-effective digital technologies reach patients in the NHS in a timely manner.”

They have also noted their commitment to working with NHSX and the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to develop a “streamlined regulatory to access pathway” for digital health technologies across England.

NICE are hoping to set standards on data utility and quality within the NHS in order to improve data driven digital technologies. They are encouraging developers to engage with them through several routes, including submitting details of their technology to HealthTech Connect, filling in details of their product online via the META tool, accessing NICE Scientific Advice, or by using Office for Market Access to facilitate multi-stakeholder engagement meetings.

With their pilot project affirming they are “on the right track,” NICE have indicated they will be announcing details within the next few months of how they plan to further support those developing digital health technologies.

Concluding, NICE stated, “We have made good progress in 2020 and we want to build on this to ensure that the best digital health technologies, supported by evidence, are reaching people using the NHS.”

“Our pilot project has shown we are on the right track and we look forward to supporting access to promising digital health technologies in 2021 and beyond!”