All health systems must address the problem of innovative health technologies – new drugs, devices, procedures or models of care – with the potential to improve clinical practice and patient outcomes but which may increase costs. In response to concern about variation in the availability and use of these technologies, the UK National Health Service (NHS) set up several organisations to help set priorities for the NHS:
• England, Wales and Northern Ireland: NICE, the National Institute for health & Clinical Excellence www.nice.org.uk
• Scotland: The Scottish Medicines Consortium www.scottishmedicines.org.uk and the Scottish Intercollegiate Guidelines Network www.sign.ac.uk
The main role of these organisations is in fact knowledge assembly and knowledge management. This talk will describe how these organisations create their knowledge products, including:
• Evidence based practice guidelines which summarise what is known about the causes, prevention, diagnosis and management of specific health conditions• Technology appraisals which use health economic methods to calculate the cost effectiveness of innovative health technologies in specific patient groups
• Interventional procedures guidance that advises on the use of novel procedures and surgical operations
We will also describe how these organisations manage and disseminat
e the knowledge they create to change patient and health professional behaviour and NHS policies. Finally, we will review the impact of these organisations on the introduction of innovative technologies and geographical variations in patient access to these.