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Tool Showing Health Economic Benefits of Innovations

MATCH has developed a tool that evaluates the health economic benefits of medical innovations. It is helping companies to work out the price and performance that would be required from their innovations to make their adoption cost-effective within the NHS. This tool is a potential boon to both manufacturers, as they are making design decisions during product development, and to the NHS, as it seeks maximum cost-effectiveness in purchasing.Cost Effect Tool

The tool was used, for example, to rapidly show the strengths and weaknesses of an innovation designed to adjust oxygen flow automatically to meet patient need. A three-hour evaluation showed that "saturation-driven oxygen therapy" could potentially save the NHS substantial sums for a modest clinical improvement. However, the modelling also identified inadequacies in data and what the company needed to do to prove the device’s value conclusively. So it gave an indication both of the potential benefits and what was missing for the device to fulfil its potential.

MATCH Senior Research Fellow, Dr Michael Craven, also worked with two other companies, using the tool to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of innovations offering optical blood glucose monitoring and varicose vein closures.

Cost effectiveness plane - the MATCH tool.

The project

 

MATCH took its Health Economic Evaluator tool, based on decision trees, to three companies that were seeking to introduce their technologies into the NHS.

Dr Michael Craven, Senior Research Fellow MATCH, worked closely the NHS National Innovation Centre (NIC) and the companies to analyse three products.

The first was an innovation designed to adjust oxygen flow automatically to meet patient need (saturation-driven oxygen therapy). The second was a non-invasive optical technique which measures blood glucose levels in the eye. In a third instance, the tool was used to compare different varicose vein closure techniques.

The work demonstrated that a lack of firm data at an early stage of development or deployment of medical innovation is not a barrier to mutual understanding of its potential value between NHS and industry. The companies were able to learn the price and performance that would be required of the device to make adoption cost-effective.

Based on feedback from the NIC and industrialists involved in this study, MATCH launched a series of workshops in collaboration with Medilink UK.

An innovation pamphlet, "Innovation - What's It Worth?" (Innovation UK, Roxby Media Limited), has been disseminated to a wide audience. As a result of its work in this field, MATCH was awarded a £110,000 grant, which started in August 2008, for "Exemplar studies in assessing the value of innovative medical devices for adoption with in the NHS". This work, now completed and published, involved Lizzy Latimer (NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency) and Brian Winn (NHS National Innovation Centre) on the steering committee.

Next Steps

MATCH, with the NIC and another MATCH partner, Adam Business Associates, has been facilitating the knowledge transfer of tools to NHS Strategic Health Authorities to aid their spending decisions. We expect that new decision-makers such as the proposed NHS Commissioning Board and GP Consortia will require similar tools to inform their purchasing.

Further information

 

Dr Michael Craven

Michael.Craven@nottingham.ac.uk 0115 951 3804