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NICE to provide more advice on effective new devices and diagnostics

NICE has been asked by the Department of Health to coordinate the evaluation of innovative medical devices and diagnostics used in the NHS. The new work programme follows recognition in Lord Darzi's Next Stage Review of the need to improve the process of identifying, evaluating and adopting effective new medical devices and diagnostics.

Medical devices are instruments, apparatus or appliances that are used specifically for therapeutic purposes. Examples include pacemakers and infusion pumps. Diagnostic devices are used to carry out procedures to confirm or determine the presence of disease in an individual. Examples include imaging equipment (such as x-ray machines), endoscopes, in-vitro diagnostics such as blood tests, and devices for testing sight or hearing. The evaluation pathway will be used to identify medical devices and diagnostics for national evaluation where it is believed that following evaluation they have the potential to offer substantial benefit to patients and/or the NHS and are more likely to be adopted more consistently and more rapidly. Some of these products will be new while others will already be in use but not in widespread or consistent use.

Andrew Dillon, NICE Chief Executive, said: “We are at the early stages of setting up this programme and are working with the medical devices and diagnostic industries, as well as our partners in the NHS, to ensure that what we do and how we do it is closely aligned with the needs of all our stakeholders. This is a new initiative for NICE that will play to our key strengths of producing the best quality advice based on the most up-to-date evidence. It's good news for patients and manufacturers, as well as the NHS because it will drive the adoption and diffusion of innovative medical technologies more quickly and simply and deliver improved efficiency and value for money.

“In addition, we hope that the evaluation pathway will provide an opportunity for collaborative (NHS and industry) research to generate clinical effectiveness data on innovative technologies where this is needed.”

The programme will provide a coordinated suite of guidance and advice on the clinically effective, cost-effective and efficient use of selected technologies. It will include an implementation component to facilitate and accelerate uptake of appropriate innovative technologies and ensure more consistent diffusion across services. A key element of the programme will be the establishment of an independent Medical Technologies Advisory Committee (MTAC). The Committee, for which recruitment is currently underway, will have three distinct functions:

  • selecting products for evaluation and routing them through one of the available evaluative routes (initially the NICE technology appraisal, interventional procedures or the soon to be launched diagnostics programmes - evaluation programmes from different organisations will be added to the pathway at a later date)
  • undertaking evaluations on medical devices (all diagnostic products will be dealt with through the new diagnostics programme) with an emerging or ‘thin' evidence base
  • for a small number of topics, recommending further research, using pre-determined options.

The Committee will hold its first meeting in November 2009.

1 July 2009

This page was last updated: 12 July 2010

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Accessibility | Cymraeg | Freedom of information | Vision Impaired | Contact Us | Glossary | Data protection | Copyright | Disclaimer | Terms and conditions

Copyright 2014 National Institute for Health and Care Excellence. All rights reserved.