Let’s move on from the evidence challenge to explaining what good looks like

This is an excerpt of an article written by Neelam Patel (Chief Operating Office, MedCity) and Indra Joshi (Digital Health and AI Clinical Lead, NHS England) for DigitalHealth.London that will feature in the magazine for the DigitalHealth.London Collaborate event.

Nearly three years ago – with our collaborative partners – including the heads of London’s Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs), we identified three areas that needed to be at the heart of DigitalHealth.London’s work: evidence, evidence, evidence.

As documented in a report published by BSI, DH.L and MedCity in 2017, the issue is not the lack of guidance, but making the large amount of published guidance out there relevant and accessible to innovators. The report noted the evidence themes that Stakeholders such NICE, MHRA, HRA, SMEs, AHSNs, NIHR, considered relevant to the deployment of digital health technologies, and at which point of the innovation journey these would need to be demonstrated.

We have made some positive steps in this space, last year NICE produced a sample of Health App Briefings, reporting on the evidence generated by medical technologies and their effectiveness in healthcare systems. Last year, digitalhealth.london published a blog on the work that the evidence workstream was undertaking to simplify the landscape and remove the barriers for faster innovation development. Since then, the work has moved forward and it is clear that in order to make these ambitious changes, we need a system-wide approach with organisations working collaboratively at national and regional level and including government and industry.

Work is underway across organisations to offer a tangible set of standards and guidance that takes into account what the innovative technology is, the risk it entails and accordingly what level of evidence would be suitable for a commissioner to be confident that is has reached the required mark.

We will soon see evidence that is generated through trials, pilots and evaluations based on RWD, both positive and negative, that is disseminated and available for shared learning and faster and more consistent adoption.  We will see across the healthcare landscape informed clinicians having easy access to the right evidence-based technology tailored to their patient’s needs and users providing real world data to ensure ongoing surveillance of the technology and its safety and efficacy.