The Health Technology Assessment (HTA) of mobile health applications involves significant challenges including rapid product development cycles, sparse evidence and uncertainty over the economic impact. However apps also provide unique opportunities, such as their potential reach and use of real-world data, which will facilitate their contribution to healthcare delivery. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), alongside other agencies, has been piloting the development of a health app assessment programme. This presentation reports the results of a study about the development of the Health App Briefing (HAB) which is designed as the output from a rapid assessment of the effectiveness and cost-saving potential of apps to inform decision makers in the United Kingdom National Health Service.
The HAB is built on the success of the NICE Medtech Innovation Briefings programme because many of the HTA challenges are similar to those found with medical devices. HAB development is grounded in four principles: rapid assessment; transparent process; independence from industry or the health service and input from commentators. The content includes an evidence summary for effectiveness including comments from specialist experts and users; a summary of information relating to the cost saving potential and a summary of other user benefits (including issues of access and usability). Novel features are the presentation of a rating of the potential value of the app to the health system and working with commissioners of the app to obtain real-world information for a case study about the economic impact.
The development of four HABs along with a review of the learning from the piloting process will be presented. The review will include stakeholder feedback from a workshop.
We believe the evaluation of this work presented here will be of interest to other HTA agencies around the world that are deciding how to approach the issues surrounding the assessment of health apps.