We will continue to work with industry and the National Health Service to promote patient access to new technologies, but it is important to realise that not all technologies are appropriate for everyone—it is up to clinicians to make a decision in discussion with patients, about the most suitable treatment in each case.
The Centre for Evidence-based Purchasing (CEP) provides independent, evidence-based information about innovative technologies across the entire range of medical devices available in health and social care today. It concentrates on projects where it is possible to make an impact upon the uptake of new technology or those cases where existing technology can be used in an innovative manner. In April 2009, it published an Evidence Review on implantable cardiac devices with remote monitoring facilities. One of its findings was that there was insufficient evidence to conclude whether or not investment in remote monitoring would yield direct cost savings for hospitals. A copy of this has been placed in the Library.
In addition, in 2007 we established the NHS Technology Adoption Centre (NTAC), which works to identify and overcome the barriers to the uptake of innovative technologies that will improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare delivery. One of the projects that it is currently working on is cardiac resynchronisation therapy with remote patient monitoring. This project is about increasing the availability of advanced treatments, which can restore the normal co-ordinated pumping action of the heart, improving cardiac function in suitable people with moderate and severe heart failure. The role of remote monitoring technologies in the early detection of arrhythmias and its impact on follow up care are key components of this project. The findings from this project will be published by NTAC in May 2010 and disseminated across the NHS.