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  • Claire Packer (a1), Matthew Fung (a2) and Andrew Stevens (a2)

Objectives: The aim of this study was to assess the accuracy of the English National Horizon Scanning Centre (NHSC) in identifying and filtering pharmaceutical developments using end user and international collaborator databases of emerging technologies as proxies for new drugs of likely significance to health services and/or patients.

Methods: We used the NHSC information system and the list of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) technology appraisals to estimate the false positive rate for NHSC identification, filtration, and reporting. We assessed the sensitivity of NHSC identification and filtration of pharmaceuticals for NICE technology appraisals from 1999 to the end of December 2010, and for pharmaceuticals entered into the EuroScan International Network database.

Results: We estimate that overall NHSC identification, filtration and reporting had a positive predictive value of 0.39 (95 percent CI, 0.36 to 0.43) and a false positive rate of 60 percent. Using NICE appraisals and EuroScan's database as proxies for pharmaceuticals of significance, we estimate the NHSC sensitivity over the 10-year period at 0.92 (95 percent CI, 0.89 to 0.95) and 0.89 (95 percent CI, 0.82 to 0.96) respectively.

Conclusions: Our results suggest that the NHSC has performed well in terms of sensitivity over the past decade, but that the false positive rate of 60 percent may indicate that the filtration criteria for pharmaceuticals could be tightened for increased efficiency. Future evaluations of EAA systems should include an element of external review and explore the level of accuracy acceptable to funders and customers of such systems.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

1. K Douw , H Vondeling . Selective new health technologies for evaluation: Can clinical experts predict which new anticancer drugs will impact on Danish health care? Soc Sci Med. 2007;64:283286.

5. C Packer . The National Horizon Scanning Centre (NHSC): Early warning for new and emerging health technologies in England. Evid Based Healthc Public Health. 2005;9:410413.

7. S Simpson , C Hyde , A Cook , C Packer , A Stevens . Assessing the accuracy of forecasting: Applying standard diagnostic assessment tools to a health technology early warning system. Int J Technol Assess Health Care. 2003;20:381384.

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International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care
  • ISSN: 0266-4623
  • EISSN: 1471-6348
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-technology-assessment-in-health-care
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