As digital health technologies develop at an increasing pace, we've worked with partners to develop standards that ensure new technologies 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, while meeting the needs of the health and care system, patients, and users.

We created the standards as part of a working group led by NHS England. The group also includes:

  • Public Health England
  • MedCity
  • DigitalHealth.London.

The standards

The evidence standards framework is made up of:

  • effectiveness standards
  • economic impact standards.

The framework supports the relevant principles of the Department of Health and Social Care code of conduct for data-driven health and care technology.

User guide

This covers:

  • the background of the standards
  • their development and use
  • future priorities identified by stakeholders.

Supporting resources

Budget impact template

To support digital health innovators using the economic impact standards.

Budget impact guide

For more information on budget impact and cost consequences analysis. 

Case studies

The functional classification case studies show examples of how digital health technologies are classified for the effectiveness standards.

The effectiveness and economic impact case studies show examples of the available evidence for some digital health technologies.

We commissioned the Newcastle and York external assessment centre to develop the budget impact guide and case studies. 


The aim of the standards

Provide advice to digital health innovators:

  • about how the NHS makes decisions
  • about the standards of evidence they will be expected to produce for different types of digital technologies.

Help NHS commissioners:

  • to make more informed and consistent decisions by providing a framework for the levels of evidence they should expect to see presented to them.

Improve the approach to developing and commissioning digital health technologies:

  • by making it more dynamic and value driven, with a focus on offering real value to patients.

How we developed the framework

The project to develop the standards has been truly collaborative, bringing key parties together including innovators, commissioners, clinicians, academics and other stakeholders to better understand their needs, experiences and perspectives. 

Together we have produced a set of standards that attempt to strike the right balance between supporting innovation and ensuring an appropriate level of rigour and assurance for the health and care system.  

Your feedback

We collected feedback on the first version of the evidence standards framework. The feedback period ran from 12 December 2018 to 14 January 2019. We'd like to thank everyone who took part.

Read our feedback report (PDF) to find out more about:

  • the feedback we received
  • the subsequent changes we made to the latest version of the evidence standards framework.