Assessing Diagnostic Technologies

Proj HS

The Diagnostic Horizon Scan Programme is part of the National Institute for Health Research Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative Oxford (NIHR DEC Oxford).  We identify and prioritise diagnostic technologies relevant to UK Primary Care and assess the evidence for these technologies.  We also identify research requirements to facilitate implementation.  We regularly search the literature and meet with industry representatives and clinicians to identify the most relevant technologies. This is an ongoing project and to date we have published reports on 36 diagnostic technologies, which include point-of-care tests (e.g. Calprotectin, Faecal Occult Blood tests, cardiac markers, HbA1c, lipids, C-reactive protein), devices (e.g. portable ultrasound, hand-held ECG monitors, transcutaneous bilirubinometers, non-contact infrared thermometers, pulse oximetry) and other technologies (e.g. screening instruments for frailty, alternative urine sampling methods for older adults).  These reports are freely accessible on our Diagnostic Evidence Cooperative website and we also publish the reports most relevant to UK GPs in the British Journal of General Practice.  The reports provide an overview of the current published research addressing accuracy, clinical utility and cost-effectiveness.  Overall we have found that for most technologies there are several accuracy studies, however clinical utility and implementation studies as well as health economic analyses are frequently lacking.

We regularly submit relevant reports to the Diagnostic Panel of the NIHR Health Assessment Programme, where several of the topics from our reports have been highlighted for further investigation.  Some reports have also directly informed primary studies (e.g. a study on the accuracy and utility of hand-held ECG monitors in General Practice in Oxfordshire).