National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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NICE launches first modular update to its methods and processes

NICE’s methods and processes now include a proportionate approach to technology appraisals, and a new way of updating recommendations on COVID-19 treatments.

The first modular update to NICE’s health technology evaluations manual is now live.

This update follows a consultation held earlier on two changes to its manual:

  • Incorporating NICE’s proportionate approach to technology appraisals into the manual.
  • A revised approach to updating technology appraisal recommendations for COVID-19 medicines.

Light-touch, faster evaluations

A proportionate approach to technology appraisals, which NICE has piloted in 2022-23, is now formally confirmed part of its methods and processes.

Through a proportionate approach NICE can apply light-touch, faster evaluations to simpler, low-risk treatments. The allows faster guidance to be produced on these topics.

So far, NICE has published draft final guidance on six treatmentsthrough a proportionate approach. The guidance was produced up to 45% faster than standard processes, benefitting around 180,000 people.

The proportionate approach also releases capacity for NICE, ensuring it continues to have enough time for complex areas that need tailored support.

The update covers information on several aspects of the proportionate approach, including:

  • its cost comparison process 
  • streamlined committee decision-making.

It also covers new was of operating more efficiently such as:  

  • opt-in approach to technical engagement
  • aligning topics in the same disease indication 
  • handling confidential information.

NICE is currently carrying out a second phase of its proportionate approach, which will pilot further novel ways of working that will simplify, remove, or reconfigure parts of the appraisals process.

New process for updating recommendations on treatments for COVID-19

NICE has also published a final process for updating technology appraisal recommendations for COVID-19 medicines. The process document includes an overview of the recent consultation, and NICEs response.

The final process presents a reconsidered approach to surveillance and updates to reflect the changes in data availability, and to address the key concerns of stakeholders. It aims to deliver guidance in approximately half the time of a normal review. 

NICE’s updated health technology evaluation manual for technology evaluations was published in 2022. The changed processes give patients earlier access to innovative new treatments by allowing greater flexibility over decisions about value for money and consideration of a broader evidence base.

By updating the manual in a modular way, it also means NICE can update our processes more flexibly, in response to the changes in the health and care system as it evolves.

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