Unsworth H, Stevenson A. Digital healthcare evaluation at NICE: an evolving process. Presented at the ISPOR 21st Annual European Congress; November 13, 2018. Barcelona, Spain.


OBJECTIVES: Digital healthcare could potentially transform healthcare, offering flexible diagnostic, treatment and monitoring to people with a wide range of conditions. However, clinicians and patients can struggle to find appropriate digital solutions; and have 1) evidence of effectiveness, 2) adequate data security and 3) are clinically sound. This study aims to summarise NICE’s work to date providing advice and guidance to the NHS in England on digital healthcare, and outline some future directions.

METHODS: A search of NICE guidance and advice products to April 2018 was undertaken, to identify products including aspects relating to digital healthcare. The development of methodologies to assess digital healthcare was analysed.

RESULTS:
NICE has included recommendations for digital healthcare in 17 clinical and public health guideline and guidance products since 2006. These mostly recommend general types of digital tools that provide information, medication reminders and fitness tracking. 15 Medtech Innovation Briefings on named, CE-marked digital medical technologies have also been published since 2015. These included evidence summaries, expert opinion, and assessments of potential system and resource impact. In 2017, 3 pilot Health Application Briefings on digital health and social-care technologies published, including NHS adoption case studies and assessment of digital technical factors using NHS Digital’s beta-version Digital Assessment Questionnaire (DAQ) tool. In 2018, 5 IAPT Assessment Briefings assessing digital mental health technologies published. These included DAQ assessments and analyses of the therapeutic content of the digital technology.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite international uncertainties around assessing digital healthcare, NICE has incorporated digital healthcare into various levels of guidance and advice. The NHS Digital DAQ provides a standardised technical assessment and has become important in assessing digital healthcare for the NHS. NICE’s methodologies in evaluating digital healthcare continues evolve to meet the needs of patients and the health and social care system in England.

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