National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)
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Speeding up access to transformative healthcare technologies

Blog posted by: Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health Technology Evaluation, 27 November 2018. 

You’ll probably have seen reports recently in the media about a new government initiative, known as the Accelerated Access Pathway (AAP), designed to speed up access to new, transformative healthcare technologies in the NHS, and the group responsible for overseeing it, the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC).

As part of the AAP development activities, a group of existing products has been identified to receive support to enable them to get to patients quicker. It was announced that these 7 ‘rapid uptake’ products would include treatments for a range of conditions including cancer and heart disease.

You may be thinking, well, if these products are so good, and in some cases cost-saving, why aren’t they being used more widely already? That’s a perfectly good question, especially when you consider that most of these products have already been approved by NICE as being a cost-effective use of NHS money.

But there are a number of reasons why this isn’t quite as straightforward as it may seem. For example, there may not be the finances needed to initially invest in the product, and sometimes it might be difficult to get clinicians to change to a new treatment in place of one they may have been using for many years. Or there might be issues about providing training on how to use the product. And then there are regional differences in the speed with which some new treatments are made available, depending on where you live.

For these ‘rapid uptake products’, the AAC is responsible for addressing some of the practical barriers to their wider and faster uptake, especially as these technologies have already been found to be cost-effective.

NICE hosts the AAC secretariat, on behalf of the Office for Life Sciences, which has a key role in co-ordinating the activities of the Collaborative.

The aim of the AAP is to speed up access to new, transformative healthcare technologies in the NHS. NICE has already been working, through our Office for Market Access and Scientific Advice programme, to help companies engage with healthcare system partners to inform their market access strategy and to understand and generate the evidence needed to show their products are clinically and cost effective.

Once the AAP is fully up and running NICE, together with our partners will select the technologies that have the potential to transform patient outcomes, and bring major efficiency gains for the system by providing opportunities for reinvesting resources. We will then agree what needs to be done so these technologies can be made available more rapidly to NHS patients.

The AAP, through the work of the collaborative partners, brings together all the steps needed to accelerate new products through the system. It will ensure that world-class, transformative new technologies can get to the patients who need them quickly, fairly, and cheaply. Above all, it’s about helping to create a system that’s quick to recognise, support and adopt innovation.


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