Draft guidance from NICE recommends four digital weight management platforms

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has shared draft guidance indicating that four digital programmes can be used to help the NHS in delivering specialist weight management services, with platforms Liva, Oviva, Roczen or Second Nature enabling specialists to provide virtual care via an app or computer.

Some of the digital programmes include the ability to prescribe weight management medication, with others capable of collecting and sharing data to support weight management prescribing and supporting plans.

NICE shares how clinical experts highlighted to the independent committee that there is “unequal distribution” of specialist services in England, with some areas seeing long waiting lists and others having no service at all. As such, it is hoped the digitally-enabled services will support people with access difficulties.

The digital enabled services are expected to improve patient care for those who cannot or do not wish to travel for appointments, offering flexibility and convenience for patients who are content to be treated virtually.

NICE adds that over the next four years, evidence is to be generated on the platforms’ long-term cost effectiveness. At present, calculations indicate that up to 48,000 people would be able to access the digital services. If all of those eligible took part, up to 145,000 hours of clinician time could potentially be saved.

NICE has also commented: “Early evidence suggests that weight loss of those using these digital platforms is similar at 2 years, compared with face-to-face specialist weight management services.”

The interim director of medical technology and digital evaluation at NICE, Mark Chapman, said: “By using these platforms over the next four years, NICE can learn from the evidence generated to ensure that when we carry out a full assessment, we can ensure that we are balancing delivering the best care and getting value for money for the taxpayer.”

Last month, NICE published its transformation plan in which it highlights the need to adapt to effectively manage new digital technologies and the “exponential” increase in health and care data.

Earlier this year, NICE also conditionally recommended digitally enabled therapies to treat anxiety and depression in adults. Eight digital therapies were recommended to address conditions such as PTSD and body dysmorphia, with each technology including the support of an NHS Talking Therapies clinician.