The United Kingdom is an attractive market for any digital therapeutics (DTx) or digital health company. The UK National Health Service (NHS) is considered to be one of the world’s leading health services and has a complex structure with several bodies and organizations, of which DTx companies should be aware if they wish to launch a solution and receive reimbursement.
The NHS is the single-payor healthcare system of the UK. Public healthcare provided by the NHS is available, free of charge, to any UK resident. This ‘free at point of delivery’ system means that access to services is closely scrutinized by the NHS organizations with fiscal responsibility to operate within their budget. In addition to the cost of patient care, NHS organizations with fiscal responsibility must also find additional resources to improve clinical services and patient outcomes.
In 2017 alone, the NHS treated over 1.7 million cancer patients, 181,000 cases of heart failure, 398,000 cases of heart disease, 211,000 strokes, and 600 cases of pneumonia. There has been a 50% increase in most of these categories in the last ten years.
Healthcare initiatives have been adopted by the NHS to improve the supply of services and to adopt new interventions for patients who are currently on waiting lists. For example, NHS initiated a program called ‘Improving Access to Psychological Therapies’ (IAPT) that aims to provide talking therapies for adults experiencing common mental health problems such as depression or anxiety; mental health has been one of the largest areas of NHS spending for several years. Nearly one million patients sought access through the IAPT, while 2.4 million sought help from secondary mental health services. It’s no surprise that the NHS is already working with DTx providers to provide improved healthcare services access to their patients.
In this paper, we provide an overview of most pertinent NHS bodies and organizations, a brief description of their roles, and further information on standards relevant to DTx companies.
Download the full whitepaper 'An overview of the NHS bodies and organizations relevant to the approval of digital therapeutics in the UK'