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Evaluating Medical Devices for the NHS

Our studies help the NHS to make better choices about which technologies to buy and adopt into the health service. We started by evaluating four medical devices. Since then, we have been invited to provide a regular service that can evaluate the latest devices and innovations.HITF IMG

This service is important because the range, diversity and multiplicity of medical technologies can make cost-effective purchasing extremely difficult for the NHS. The starting point was a request for MATCH to help the Centre for Evidence-Based Purchasing (CEP) to develop new methods for evaluating medical devices.

We examined four medical device pilot projects. Our goal was to create an agreed understanding of what was valuable across a wide range of technologies. To this end, we worked on economic evaluations and reviews of the products.

Following this initial work, the CEP recruited us, in partnership with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, to provide regular evidence and economic reviews of medical technologies. We have completed our first studies, worth around £30,000. MATCH has successfully applied to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence so that we can continue to help them in the same way, since the CEP device evaluation work has been transferred to NICE.

The Project

In 2003, MATCH contributed to the Healthcare Industries Task Force. Its role was to provide an academic voice within the task force, which also included stakeholders from government and industry. One of the task force's main recommendations was formation of the Centre for Evidenced-based Purchasing (CEP), aimed at improving the cost-effectiveness of purchasing by the NHS.

The need for this type of work is clear from the large numbers of medical devices that are currently developed and the constraints on the NHS budget that demands ever more rigorous value for money.

The new Centre needed help developing methods for evaluating medical devices. MATCH was a natural partner. So MATCH began work with the Centre on a set of four medical device pilot projects. Our shared goal was to create general agreement on what qualities should be considered valuable across a wide range of technologies.

We worked closely with Lizzy Latimer, a health economist with the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency, as well as with University of Bath's Centre for Research in Strategic Purchasing and Supply (CRiSPS).

The outcome of this collaboration has been two reports for CEP and contributions to a third, in which generally agreed measures of value in medical devices were established. In the process of this work, MATCH demonstrated its usefulness. As a result, it was contracted, along with Nottingham University Hospitals Trust to provide reviews of medical devices for the CEP and subsequently for NICE. CEP was transferred to NICE in 2010 as part of the move to create a Single Evaluation Pathway.

Next Steps

MATCH continues to provide evaluation services to NICE's Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme.

Further information


Dr Michael Craven 0115 951 3804