New NHS payment tariff to fast-track innovation uptake

20 Jun 16

Simon Stevens has announced the creation of a specific NHS payment tariff to fast-track medical technology and innovations across the health service.

In an announcement to the NHS Confederation conference in Manchester last Friday, the NHS England chief said that an innovation and technology tariff would provide a clear "route to market" for devices and apps for patients.

This would improve treatment for patients with diabetes, heart conditions, asthma, sleep disorders, and other chronic health conditions.

According to Stevens, innovations would be tested in three "real world" assessment programmes. It is intended that the tariff will make it easier for clinicians across the service to make use of new technologies.

Stevens said it would remove the need for multiple local price negotiations, and instead guarantee automatic reimbursement when an approved innovation is used.

The current NHS Innovation Accelerator programme will also be expanded, which Stevens said would support developers with tried-and-tested innovations and spread them further and faster across the health service.

Stevens cited examples such as an app that allows patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder to self-manage their condition on their phone or tablet, and a mobile heart monitor that instantly captures electrocardiogram recordings, allowing the user to detect, monitor and manage heart arrhythmias.

Technology was already making a big difference to people’s lives, explained Stevens. Now, he said, the NHS would be able to streamline the journey of ground-breaking technologies into the hands of patients and staff.

"The NHS has a proud track record of world-firsts in medical innovation – think hip replacements, IVF, vaccinations and organ transplants, to name just a few. But then getting wide uptake has often been slow and frustrating,” he added.

“Now – at a time when the NHS is under pressure – rather than just running harder to stand still, it's time to grab with both hands these practical new treatments and technologies.”

A call for applications to the innovation and technology tariff was issued today. Successful applications will be included in the consultation on the 2017/18 National Tariff later this year.

Applications are expected to demonstrate evidence-based, clinical support for the innovation, as well as proven cost-effectiveness. They should also chime with the drive toward more patient 'supported self-management’, as outlined in the major NHS report, Five Year Forward View.

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