New standards, published today, set out the requirements needed to develop digital health technologies for the NHS and speed uptake of products like healthcare apps and wearable devices.
The digital revolution is rapidly evolving and new technologies such as apps and wearable devices are emerging at a fast pace. NICE has created a set of standards to help developers and investors understand what evidence is required to introduce their product for use in the NHS.
Working collaboratively NHS England, NICE, NHS Digital, MedCity, Public Health England and DigitalHealth.London have been engaging with industry, commissioners and innovators to understand what is required for health technology to thrive in the UK. The resulting standards have been developed to support digital health technology development and provide guidance on what evidence is needed when innovators present their products to NHS commissioners.
Alexia Tonnel, NICE evidence resources director, said: “The new standards will make it easier for innovators and service commissioners to understand what a good level of evidence for new digital products looks like. This will enhance understanding between innovators and healthcare commissioners; supporting the way in which promising, value driven technologies are introduced into the NHS for the benefit of clinicians and patients.”
Dr Indra Joshi, digital programme clinical lead at NHS England, said: “Harnessing new digital technologies could help the NHS provide better care for patients and empower them to take more control of their own health and care.
“The NHS needs to be sure any new digital tools are backed by appropriate evidence and these new standards, developed in partnership with NHS bodies, industry and academia, will be the start of that dialogue of defining what “good” looks like in digital health technologies.”
Digital technology increasingly plays a key part in everyday life and with people regularly relying on digital products to manage aspects their life, they are now using these services to help diagnose, treat and monitor their 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.
Split into two, the new standards address both clinical and economic impact and what evidence is needed to develop a case for use in the NHS. They also equip commissioners so they know what information to ask for from technology developers and understand what to expect in return. This will enable the health and care system to identify which products show promise, which ones need further development and which ones are unsuitable.
The evidence required is measured against the risk of a new technology. Therefore embedded in the standards is a way of classifying and categorising digital health products, against any potential risks they may have in how they work or for their use with patients. This ranges between a scale of 1 and 3b, the latter being the highest category. Lower categories focus on apps that provide information and advice on healthy lifestyles or collect information for personal health diaries. Higher categories can include technologies that perform clinical calculations or use data to diagnose a condition to inform decisions made by healthcare professionals.
Notes to the editor
1. The Evidence Standards Framework and FAQs can be found at
2. The project has been led by NHS England, NICE, Public Health England, MedCity and DigitalHealth London.
3. You can view a video about the project and Standards here https://youtu.be/_YObDegmZMo
For more information call the NICE press office on 0300 323 0142 or out of hours on 07973 970534.
The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is the independent body responsible for driving improvement and excellence in the health and social care system. We develop guidance, standards and information on high-quality health and social care. We also advise on ways to promote healthy living and prevent ill health.
Our aim is to help practitioners deliver the best possible care and give people the most effective treatments, which are based on the most up-to-date evidence and provide value for money, in order to reduce inequalities and variation.
Our products and resources are produced for the NHS, local authorities, care providers, charities, and anyone who has a responsibility for commissioning or providing healthcare, public health or social care services.
To find out more about what we do, visit our website: www.nice.org.uk and follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter.