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A Review of NICE Methods and Processes Across Health Technology Assessment Programmes: Why the Differences and What is the Impact?

Emma Cowles (), Grace Marsden, Amanda Cole () and Nancy Devlin ()
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Emma Cowles: Office of Health Economics
Grace Marsden: Office of Health Economics

Authors registered in the RePEc Author Service: Grace Hampson ()

Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, 2017, vol. 15, issue 4, 469-477

Abstract: Abstract Background Decisions made by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) exert an influence on the allocation of resources within ‘fixed’ National Health Service budgets. Yet guidance for different types of health interventions is handled via different ‘programmes’ within NICE, which follow different methods and processes. Objective The objective of this research was to identify differences in the processes and methods of NICE health technology assessment programmes and to explore how these could impact on allocative efficiency within the National Health Service. Methods Data were extracted from the NICE technology appraisal programme, medical technologies guidance, diagnostic assessment programme, highly specialised technologies programme, and clinical guidelines process and methods manuals to undertake a systematic comparison. Five qualitative interviews were carried out with NICE members of staff and committee members to explore the reasons for the differences found. Results The main differences identified were in the required evidence review period, or lack thereof, mandatory funding status, the provision of a reference case for economic evaluation, the requirement for and the type of economic analysis undertaken, and the decision making criteria used for appraisal. Conclusion Many of the differences found can be justified on grounds of practicality and relevance to the health technologies under assessment. Nevertheless, from a strict utilitarian view, there are several potential areas of inefficiency that could lead to the misallocation of resources within the National Health Service, although some of these might be eliminated or reduced if an egalitarian view is taken. The challenge is determining where society is willing to trade health gains between different people.

Keywords: National Health Service; Health Technology Assessment; Budget Impact; Health Technology Assessment Programme; Health Technology Assessment Process (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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