The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched this week an online resource to support the development and adoption of health technologies in the UK.
The new HealthTech Connect resource, which is free to use, has been created by NICE and partner organisations, including the Academic Health Science Network and the Office for Life Sciences, with funding from NHS England.
It intends to give some clarity around what the possible routes to market access are, and to help companies understand what decision makers in the health and care system need to know about their medical devices, diagnostic and digital health technologies.
It is expected that the new system will reduce some of the “complexity” and “duplication” health tech innovators often encounter in the UK, according to Meindert Boysen, NICE director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation.
“HealthTech Connect is a clear and simple point of entry for companies developing health technologies, be it medical devices, diagnostics or digital health technologies, to access support and potential routes to national evaluation programmes,” Boysen said.
“As well as helping national organisations like NICE, that have a responsibility for developing guidance on the use of health technologies in the NHS, better identify and track technologies that offer novel benefits, HealthTech Connect will also enable transformative technologies to be identified and fast tracked through relevant processes within the Accelerated Access Collaborative,” the director added.
In January this year, Lord Prior of Brampton, chair of NHS England, spoke of HealthTech Connect at the StartUp Health Festival in San Francisco, as reported by MobiHealthNews.
“We’re setting up what we call HealthTech Connect, which is kind of a portal. Any digital product that any companies want to introduce in the UK can come through HealthTech Connect straight into the NHS,” the chair told delegates at the event.
“We want the NHS to be sort of a testbed for new technology. And obviously it’s got to be safe, it’s got to be approved and regulated, but we want the NHS to be the most accessible healthcare system in the world for new technology," he added.
Since the soft launch of HealthTech Connect in February, more than 100 companies have reportedly signed up to use the resource, with 13 technologies submitted, and one already selected by NICE for a Medtech Innovation Briefing, called Sonata System.