Large numbers of new medical devices and diagnostics are developed and health services need to identify which ones offer real advantages. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has introduced a system for assessing technologies that are often notified by companies, based on claims made for their benefits to patients, the National Health Service, and the environment.
Detailed scrutiny of claims made for the benefits of products and the corresponding evidence, seeking associations between these and the selection of products for full evaluation to produce NICE guidance.
Between 2009 and 2015 a NICE committee considered 169 technologies, of which it selected 74 (44 percent) for full evaluation, based on the claims of benefit and the evidence available. An average of 7.5 claims were made per technology; the total number did not influence selection but presence of studies supporting all the claims (p < .001) or any of the claims (p < .05) had a positive influence, as did claims for quicker patient recovery (p < .001). A greater number of studies to support the claims made selection more likely (p < .001), as did cohort studies (p < .05) and surveys (p < .05) but, unexpectedly, not randomized trials. The Medical Device Directive class had no influence.
This study presents categories of claims that may be useful to those developing new products and to others engaged in health technology assessment. It illustrates the importance of relevant evidence and of having a clear vision of the place of new products in care pathways from an early stage.
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