Medicines and technologies programme


Our medicines and technologies programme provides resources to support the appropriate uptake and use of medicines across England. The programme tracks the implementation of our guidance, helps to drive the adoption of new, innovative medicines and aims to reduce spending on ineffective treatments.

It is split into three parts:


Adoption and impact

Our adoption team identifies what is required for a new health technology to be successfully adopted into the NHS. They then produce tools and tips that can be used alongside relevant NICE guidance to help overcome any hurdles to implementation.

Our impact team measures the uptake of our guidance, quality standards and advice recommendations by using data from national or local audits, reports and journal publications. This allows us to assess the impact our guidance is having on patient care.

Highlights of 2016-17:

Insights from the professionals

This year, we have published six briefings based on real insights from the NHS providing tips on the adoption of our health technology guidance across England. These serve as learning examples for other professionals working in the NHS and social care sector. Some examples include:


Planning and data in one place

In April 2016, we launched an impact audit publications planner. This planner details all current and future national audits of health and social care in England. It also shows which NICE guidance and quality standard publications have been measured within the audits.

The uptake data included in all published audits is available through our website. This helps commissioners and providers of health or social care services to see how well other organisations are implementing our guidance.


Testing the feasibility of our asthma guidance

In January 2016, we published our draft guidance on asthma: diagnosis and monitoring.

Comments received during the public consultation told us there were concerns about how the recommended tests could be used in general practice. So we ran a feasibility test to assess the impact our recommendations would have on GPs.

In May 2016, seven primary care practices across England were selected to adopt two tests we recommended in the draft guideline – quality-assured spirometry and fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO).

For six months, each surgery collected data on how the tests were being offered and carried out. The guideline committee is currently considering the results as it finalises recommendations.


Two thirds of the NICE recommendations we reviewed have shown an increased uptake

In March 2017, we published our twice-yearly uptake and impact report. Each report reviews the uptake and impact of our guidance, standards and advice on health and social care.


Medicines and prescribing

NICE provides comprehensive guidance, advice and support for prescribing and the best use of medicines across the NHS. The advice can also appear in NICE guidelines.

Our community of prescribing associates who form part of the medicines and prescribing team, play an active role in making sure that our guidance is implemented and disseminated properly.

Highlights of 2016-17:

Evidence summaries

We published 20 evidence summaries. These summaries are not formal guidance. However, they are based upon the best available evidence, aiming to help inform local NHS planning and decision making for new medicines, and some off-label uses of medicines. Some examples include:


Key therapeutic topics

We published 15 key therapeutic topic summaries. These summaries aim to improve the use of existing medicines. All topics published are part of NHS England’s medicines optimisation initiatives. Some examples include:


Treatment for adults at high risk of exposure to HIV

In October 2016, we published an evidence summary on Truvada, the pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) treatment for HIV in adults at high risk.

This summary was commissioned by NHS England to inform the development of its policy on providing PrEP treatment routinely across the NHS.

The summary looked at the evidence and data from four separate clinical trials taking into account the risk of contracting HIV with and without the treatment, along with safety and the estimated impact for the NHS.


A helping hand for busy prescribers

We disseminate key information on medicines and prescribing across the NHS through regular contact with our network of 70 prescribing associates.

The weekly medicines and prescribing alerts summarise new information to help busy doctors keep up to date. More than 12,000 people are signed up for this service.


Resource impact assessment

NICE provides resource impact assessment of our guidance which estimates the costs and savings of implementing the guidance.

Our assessment team advises guideline committees on issues, such as workforce, patient demand, service capacity and training.

They also develop implementation tools to support our guidance including: resource impact reports and templates, and a resource planner so individual NHS organisations can calculate the costs and savings new NICE guidance will create for them.

Key stakeholders within the NHS are informed of our upcoming guidance and the likelihood that they will call for a change in current practice. This can help with their financial planning.

We published 81 tools and other resources alongside NICE guidance.

Highlights of 2016-17:

Addressing environmental sustainability in healthcare provision

We completed a study assessing the potential environmental impact of our guidance.

The study was a collaboration with the sustainable development unit, funded by NHS England and Public Health England. The findings provide a framework for addressing the environmental impact of health care.

We will use the results to influence future work and are considering whether our appraisals should take account of the environmental impact as well as the cost to the NHS.


Keeping our stakeholders up to date

We hosted two stakeholder learning events this year in London and Manchester.

Presentations and interactive sessions explained the use of our resource impact tools.

In May 2016, we launched a monthly digest and planner. Both of these new services aim to ensure that our resource tools reach those people who will find them useful.

The digest and planner are currently shared with approximately 1000 subscribers each month, ranging from academics and commissioners to independent subscribers.

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