NICE has published an updated version of its evidence standards framework for digital health technologies (DHTs) that sets out the evidence requirements for different types of DHTs.
This updated edition takes into account feedback from stakeholders after the first version was published in December 2018.
The standards were developed collaboratively by NICE, NHS England, NHS Digital, MedCity, Public Health England and Digital health London. They set out evidence standards for both the clinical and economic impact of new DHTs and what evidence is needed from innovators to help develop a case for their use in the NHS.
The standards also provide commissioners with an insight into what information to ask for from technology developers to inform commissioning decisions. This will help enable the health and care system to identify the most effective, valuable technologies and help speed their take-up and adoption.
The digital revolution is rapidly evolving and new technologies such as apps and wearable devices are emerging at a fast pace.
More explanatory and contextual information has been provided and there is a new supporting information pack. This includes examples of DHTs with different functions, showing where these fit against the functional classification and a set of case studies illustrating levels of evidence for different types of technologies that match the evidence standards set out in the framework.
Also included in the update is a guide to using the evidence for economic impact standards and a budget impact tool. These are designed to help innovators, developers and other users determine what information is needed for an economic analysis of a DHT and how to put a good economic case together.
Alexia Tonnel, NICE evidence resources director, said: “Since their launch in December the new standards have proved to be a very popular resource for DHT innovators, healthcare commissioners and other users.
“We’ve taken the opportunity provided by user feedback and an online consultation to enhance the standards and ensure they give users everything they need to help them understand what a good level of clinical and economic evidence looks like for DHTs, and what needs to be done to ensure they get to the clinicians and patients who will benefit from them.”
Dr Indra Joshi, digital programme clinical lead at NHS England, said: “Following feedback these updated standards, which provide greater clarity and examples, will help ensure the digital health tools that are developed and introduced into the NHS are safe and backed by evidence.
“Harnessing new digital technologies is a key part of the NHS Long Term Plan and will help the NHS provide better care for patients and empower them to take more control of their own health and care.”
Digital technology increasingly plays a key part in everyday life with people regularly relying on digital products to manage aspects of their life. DHTs can now be used to help diagnose, treat and monitor people’s health. This has the potential to radically change the way care is planned, provided and received but the uptake of innovations can be slow.
It is vital, therefore, to make sure that the appropriate standards and guidance are in place to ensure digital innovators are given the support they need.