Ensuring new diagnostic technologies are brought safely and effectively to the NHS

Our Diagnostics Assessment Programme (DAP) evaluates technologies that can help diagnose disease. The programme helps ensure new diagnostic technologies, which are clinically and cost effective, are adopted by the NHS in a rapid and consistent way.

The diagnostics we assess include:

• physiological measurements – such as body temperature, or how well the heart is functioning

• pathology laboratory tests

• imaging tests

• endoscopy – where a flexible tube with a light and camera is used to transmit images of a person’s insides

An independent Medical Technologies Advisory Committee selects topics for all medical technologies and routes appropriate diagnostics topics to the DAP.

This year we produced guidance on 6 new diagnostic tests.

Glucose monitoring system for people with type 1 diabetes

In February 2016, we published guidance that recommends the MiniMed Paradigm Veo System for managing blood glucose levels in some people with type 1 diabetes. The system continuously measures glucose levels, allowing for real-time adjustment of insulin. It also produces alerts if glucose levels get too high or fall too low.

We said the system can be used for people with type 1 diabetes who experience frequent episodes of disabling low blood glucose (hypoglycaemia) despite optimal management with insulin pump therapy.

Type 1 diabetes affects around 370,000 adults and 24,000 children in the UK. Management of the condition involves lifelong insulin therapy to regulate blood glucose levels.

Conventional insulin therapies can lead to some people having difficulty in achieving their blood glucose targets. It can also be difficult to balance the risk of disabling hypoglycaemia, and hyperglycaemia (a high blood glucose level) – both of which can be potentially life-threatening. An estimated 30% of people with type 1diabetes have problematic hypoglycaemia which can affect many aspects of daily life and result in significant anxiety.

The MiniMed Paradigm Veo system consists of a glucose sensor placed under the skin that continuously measures glucose levels. It also has an insulin pump which delivers insulin continuously, and a transmitter which sends glucose level readings wirelessly from the sensor to the pump.

Professor Carole Longson MBE, NICE Health Technology Evaluation Centre Director, said:

“The ability of the system to automatically suspend insulin delivery when it detects that a person’s glucose levels have become too low could help in reducing the incidence of hypoglycaemia that happens during sleep and the associated anxiety. The system could also offer benefits to the NHS through cost and resource savings by reducing the number of hospital admissions and consultations associated with diabetes-related complications.”