Knowledge Center

Elevating Healthcare Standards: The Importance of a National Institute for Medical Technology Assessment

January 19, 2023

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department of Health and Social Care in the UK. As the start-up nation, it’s time for Israel to establish a similar institute.

Technological advancement in medicine has yielded truly remarkable advances in healthcare during the last decades.  In recent years, breakthroughs in a variety of areas including targeted cancer therapies, cardiac rhythm management, diagnostic imaging, minimally invasive surgery, pain management, infection control, and much more have helped to improve care delivery and patient outcomes.

In the UK, When it comes to evaluating medical technologies, The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), which has been operating for years, provides guidance and advice with the aim of improving health and social care.

NICE is an executive public body, which is responsible for conducting health technology assessment (HTA) on behalf of the National Health Service (NHS), evaluating the clinical and cost-effectiveness of new health technologies. Basing their recommendations on a review of clinical and economic evidence, NICE operates a Medical Technologies Evaluation Program (MTEP), which considers technologies that could offer benefits to patients as well as the health and social care system over current practices. The recommendations put forth by the institute call for the allocation of funding and provision of healthcare services by the appropriate entities within the nation.

In the field of medical technology, Israel has long been a hub for innovation, with the life sciences sector and medical technology, in particular, ranking high on the list of the countries’ most developed and entrepreneurial industries. Over the last 30 years, there have been very few important technologies – CTs, MRIs, stents, robotics, etc. – which did not include an Israeli component. In Europe, the US, Africa, and now also in Gulf states, hospitals, and healthcare systems are adopting Israeli med-tech products. 

About 1,800 Israeli companies operate in the life sciences industry, of which 40% are medical device companies,  26% are biotechnology companies, 27% are digital health companies, and 8% are pharmaceutical companies. These companies provide technological solutions to ever-changing global needs, such as the transition to home-based care as well as the emphasis on early diagnosis and preventive medicine. 

However, despite all of the above, and unlike the UK, Israel does not operate an independent public body charged with conducting health technology assessments. 

Accordingly, MedTech Israel calls for the creation of an independent, public body, responsible for medical technology assessment. This body should be composed of experts from various disciplines and have sufficient resources to continuously review and analyze data from various sources to identify emerging technologies in their early stages- which is vital in order to detect and track advancements with the potential to revolutionize the healthcare system in Israel.

As outlined, the NICE assessment protocol is a comprehensive and multidisciplinary process that evaluates both the clinical outcomes and cost-effectiveness of new health technologies. Using standardized definitions, it allows for a fair and objective comparison of similar technologies, which enables the identification of the most valuable alternative.

Proactive identification of emerging technologies through prediction methods can be a valuable asset for the healthcare system by enabling it to prepare for and effectively utilize new technologies as they come to market. Additionally, it can help to mitigate the potential confusion and misinformation that may arise from non-scientific sources.

The development of medical technologies is a prolonged process, often taking a decade or more and incurring high costs. However, this extended timeline also affords the opportunity for predictive analysis. This can be achieved through a variety of means, such as examining patent records, analyzing company reports, reviewing clinical studies, and monitoring the progress of regulatory authorities throughout the product development process. 

An institute dedicated to the assessment of medical technology can help to reduce uncertainty and proactively prepare the healthcare system for future developments. The institute should track and disseminate information on the implementation and effectiveness of new technologies, as well as maintain a comprehensive and publicly accessible digital database of existing technologies in use within Israel’s health organizations, which should be regularly updated. 
Committed to fostering the development of an optimal environment for the advancement and implementation of medical technology in Israel, MedTech Israel strongly advocates for the creation of an Israeli dedicated medical technology assessment institute in light of the above, with the ultimate goal of enhancing patient care through the integration of advanced and sustainable technology solutions.