Ensuring the health care revolution delivers on its promise: the role of NICE

Dr Sam Roberts, CEO of NICE at CHN 24th January 2024

We were delighted to kick off 2024 with fantastic speakers, Sam Roberts from NICE, Andrew Elder from Albion Ventures and Tobias Rijken and Sarah Kerruish from Kheiron Medical Technologies.

We began with a bit of audience participation – when asked which types of health tech will be the most important over the next five years, the group said remote monitoring and digital/AI.

In terms of the biggest barriers to adoption, the top scorers, perhaps not surprisingly, were funding, NHS mindset, skills and capabilities.

The discussion focused on how to accelerate evaluation and adoption of medical technologies, particularly digital tools and emerging data/analytics/AI applications. Failure to do so runs the risk of investors struggling to commit funds, patients not benefitting from improvements in quality of care and health systems continuing to struggle to recruit staff and provide care in a financially sustainable way. 

NICE has significantly ramped up its capacity and capability to evaluate digital tools, looking at almost 70 in 2023.  It has found it feasible to do so and is now able to provide meaningful information to support local commissioning and planning decisions.   

But evaluation alone is insufficient to drive adoption. Current commissioning and procurement processes in the NHS are clunky and time consuming resulting in delays in adoption and a failure to capture the benefits of new technologies. What is needed is a much clearer link from positive evaluation to adoption, a recognition of the (wider) need for more standardized approaches to care, an ability to take out the old to make the ROI case stack up and, likely, a much greater willingness to pump prime effective tools through national mandates and funding.

Making these changes will enable the UK to become a leading country for adoption of new technologies rather than a mere incubation lab.

Many thanks to DAC Beachcroft for hosting us.