Driving improvement in non-medicines technologies

Strategic plan (2016–2018)

Non-medicine technologies encompass a wide range of healthcare interventions, ranging from devices and diagnostic tests to changes in treatment pathways in health and social care. There are over 500,000 medical devices on the market with an annual UK market of £11 billion for medical devices alone and 1 in 25 people have an implanted medical device. This group of interventions may prove to be transformative in the delivery of care, however the assessment and regulatory structures, processes and profile of nonmedicine technologies are significantly less visible than for medicines.

Medicines have historically received greater focus within the research community, with closer integration to the structures that deliver health care and greater prominence in the wider media. There is some evidence that this focus may have produced a mismatch between the priorities of patients and clinicians for research and the research that is actually done.

Certainly, the non-medicine technologies arena has received less attention despite an innovative environment, a greater number of interventions with potential safety and risk implications and a significant capital spend. If we are to gain significant opportunity from non-medicine technologies to improve health outcomes and experience, a significantly greater focus and resource is required to support the key issues and challenges described in this plan.  

This document outlines our plan to improve the use of non-medicine technologies and our key actions for 2016–2018.

Our plan for improvement

Our framework for improvement will ensure that Healthcare Improvement Scotland plays a lead role in NHSScotland and beyond in relation to the evidence, improvement and quality assurance of non-medicine technologies.

Addressing the challenges and opportunities identified will require both partnership and ownership by a range of key stakeholders across NHSScotland.

Our plan is based around thematic areas which reflect the landscape and key challenges.

There is a need to:

  • raise and improve awareness of the importance of safe, clinical and cost effective use of non-medicine technologies.
  • work collaboratively to understand roles and responsibilities with a wide range of nonmedicine technologies stakeholders, including evidence assessment and regulatory organisations, manufacturers and patient and public bodies.
  • improve communication networks and structures to ensure that evidence assessment and improvement information are received and considered by the most appropriate local groups. There is a need for clearer focus and co-ordination for non-medicine technologies and a clearer landing zone for advice and improvement information.
  • contribute to the development of a shared framework for the assessment of nonmedicine technologies at a local level. There is an opportunity to share local assessment and reduce duplication and improve equity of access.
  • support the pathway for assessment of CE marked innovative technologies, ensuring structures are sufficiently flexible to permit assessment and ongoing surveillance.

Published Date: 27 May 2016