Update to the Methods of Health Technology Evaluation for NICE

The NICE Decision Support Unit (DSU) has made substantial contributions to every update of NICE’s “Methods for Technology Appraisal” since the unit started in 2003. Given that the last update to this document was in 2013, an update is long overdue. Over the past two years we’ve been engaged in a series of projects to help inform the update that NICE has just put out for consultation and there is an incredible amount of our previous work that was referred to as part of the update process.

This time round, the scope extends beyond Technology Appraisals and encompasses Medical Technologies, Diagnostics and Highly Specialised Technologies. The DSU, including our members based at the Universities of Sheffield, York, Leicester and Bristol, have undertaken a series of studies that were used to help inform discussions on the methods update. These are now available via our website and cover a real variety of areas, some of which are recurrent themes for both ourselves and NICE, whilst others are novel. Examples include:

– when and how should cost-minimisation methods be used,

– whether unrelated future health care costs should be included in cost effectiveness analyses

– the use of non-standard survival analysis methods,

– the types of “modifiers” to decisions in addition to cost effectiveness information,

– how to measure and value quality of life in more complex situations such as when only limited data are available, for assessing health technologies for children, or when needing to map from different variants of the EQ5D.

– how to use qualitative evidence in the HTA process

– And a whole series of thorny issues in relation to evidence synthesis such as combining observational and randomised evidence, surrogate outcomes and evidence for diagnostics.

Of course, the work of the DSU is only one of many inputs to the changes NICE are proposing but we are pleased to continue to play an important role in the update process. The consultation is now live herewhere you can find a list of proposed changes and related documents. We’d encourage you to contribute to the consultation exercise. Head to our website herefor more information on our reports or more information about our work more generally.