4 Identifying, selecting and routing technologies for evaluation

4.1 How NICE becomes aware of new medical technologies

4.1.1 Notifications from sponsors

Sponsors notify technologies to the programme team at medtech@nice.org.uk.

The programme team first considers notified medical technologies using the following eligibility criteria (see appendix B for details):

  • They have a CE mark or equivalent regulatory approval, or this is expected within 1¬†year.

  • The topic is within the remit of a NICE evaluation programme, and is not currently being evaluated.

  • The technology is either new or an innovative modification of an existing technology, with claimed benefits for patients or healthcare systems.

NICE asks sponsors of medical technologies that meet the eligibility criteria to provide additional information to be used in the topic briefing.

NICE informs sponsors if medical technologies do not meet the eligibility criteria or if they are not suitable for consideration for guidance. Sponsors may re-notify NICE about medical technologies even if they have previously been assessed as ineligible. However, sponsors are encouraged to discuss this with NICE in advance because technologies need to have changed in such a way that they meet the eligibility criteria.

4.1.2 Other sources of information on new medical technologies

NICE uses a variety of sources to identify topics including NHS England, horizon scanning organisations, and health and care organisations involved in promoting innovation. The programme contacts sponsors to request further information on technologies of interest.

4.2 Selecting topics

Selection is the process by which NICE identifies and decides which medical technologies should be evaluated. Because the number of technologies that can be evaluated at 1 time is limited, the topic oversight group selects technologies that are likely to have the most benefit to patients and the health and social care system.

Sponsors of eligible technologies are asked to provide information on the technology, including its uses, costs, sources of evidence and benefits. The benefits should include either or both:

  • benefit to patients (measurable benefit to patients compared with currently available technologies)

  • benefit to the health and social care system (adopting the medical technology is likely to reduce the burden on health and social care system staff or reduce resource use).

4.2.1 Topic briefings

The programme team prepares topic briefings for the topic oversight group. These are composed of:

  • information provided by the sponsor (in particular the claimed benefits)

  • input from the expert advisers

  • input from the relevant patient and carer organisations information relating to potential equality considerations (section 5.1)

The sponsor checks the draft topic briefing for accuracy.

4.3 Routing topics

Having reviewed the topic briefing and selected the technology for evaluation, the topic oversight group routes the topic to the most appropriate NICE programme (or other national evaluation programme) using the criteria in appendix D. These criteria are based on the published remits for the programmes.

4.3.1 Routing to the medical technologies evaluation programme

In summary, the criteria for routing a technology to MTEP are:

  • it is likely to be cost saving or cost neutral

  • it can be evaluated as a single technology

  • it can be evaluated on a short timescale.

4.3.2 Routing to the diagnostics assessment programme

In summary, the criteria for routing a technology to the diagnostics assessment programme are:

  • it is likely to result in an overall increase in resource costs to the health and social care system

  • it can be evaluated as 1 of a class of similar technologies or as a single technology

  • it can only be evaluated using clinical and cost utility.

4.3.3 Routing to any other NICE programme

A technology routed to any other NICE programme is considered for evaluation and evaluated according to the processes, methods and timelines of that programme.

4.4 Information published about eligible and selected technologies

The following information is published on the NICE website:

  • Topics selected for evaluation by MTEP, including information about each technology and links to the evaluation documents.

  • Topics selected for evaluation by another NICE guidance programme, including information about their guidance development.

  • Eligible topics that are not selected for evaluation.

No information is published about topics notified to MTEP that are not considered for selection.

4.5 Timeline

NICE needs to collect sufficient information on individual technologies to select and route them correctly. Figure 1 indicates the timelines for selection and routing.

Figure 1 The selection and routing process

Figure 1 The selection and routing process