NICE announces “ambitious” transformation with a key focus on data, implementation and the potential of digital health technologies

NICE has published its transformation plan, covering its intention to “evolve” over the next few years, to meet “the changing needs of the health and care system”, recognising the need to adapt to be able to effectively manage new digital technologies and the “exponential” increase in health and care data.

Setting the scene for transformation, Dr Sam Roberts, NICE’s chief executive, reaffirms the organisation’s commitment to continuing in its core principles of independence, transparency and rigour; but notes the need to adapt in order to handle the “constant” emergence of digital health technologies “with the potential to transform healthcare”, the “exponential” growth of health and care data, and “unprecedented workforce and capacity pressures”.

Under the transformation plan, NICE commits to “focusing on what matters most”, developing guidance and advice on topics where it can “make the biggest difference to patient care”. It will focus on its medtech programme for innovations in areas of significant unmet need, and on developing tools and resources to help tackle the highest priority areas. An example of this type of work from 2022/23 is the launch of a health technology assessment lab to enable collaboration on a range of topics that will benefit people accessing healthcare around the world.

NICE’s plan also commits to creating advice that’s useful and useable, ensuring guidance is up-to-date and easy to use. An example from 2022/23 is the development of a new proportionate approach to the technology appraisal process which allowed evaluations of low-risk treatments to be conducted 45% faster.

Finally, NICE commits to learning from data and implementation, linking in with national implementation networks, the VCSE sector and the health and care sector, to learn from real-world implementation of NICE guidance. In 2022/23, NICE collaborated with 5 international health technology assessment bodies to “benefit people accessing healthcare globally” by tackling common challenges and sharing insight.

The plan also notes NICE’s role over the last year in helping to bring the latest digital technologies to the forefront in health and care, recommending 20 digital technologies in total, including 8 digital therapies for depression and anxiety disorderswith the combined potential to help more than 40,000 people”.

Last year, we covered NICE’s work on AI and digital data, including the organisation’s evidence standards framework to incorporate AI and data-driven tech, recognising the need to ensure that digital health technologies are “clinically effective and offer value to the health and care system”.

In June of this year, we also reported on NICE’s new “one-stop-shop for AI and digital regulations for health and social care”, which is intended to support the wider health and care system in adopting and making use of “new digital and artificial intelligence”.

Amongst other developments within the realm of health and technology, we’ve discussed NICE’s conditional recommendation on wearable devices for Parkinson’s, and on digital CBT tools for children and young people.

To read NICE’s transformation plan in full, please click here.