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Journal of the Academy of Hospital Administration

Net Scan - Website of National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE)

Author(s): Surfed and Reviewed by: Rajiv Kumar Jain*

Vol. 15, No. 1 (2003-01 - 2003-06)

National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), a part of the National Health Service (NHS) of England and Wales is an independent organization responsible for providing national guidance on treatments, and care for those using the NHS in England and Wales. Its guidance is for healthcare professionals and patients and their carers, to help them make decisions about treatment and healthcare. NICE guidance and recommendation are prepared by independent groups that include healthcare professionals working in the NHS and people who are familiar with the issues affecting patients and careers.

NICE produces guidance in three areas of health-technology appraisals, clinical guidelines, and international procedures. NICE also undertakes research into the way patients are treated. The website of NICE is quick to upload and connectivity is assured round the clock. It has sections on Technology Appraisals, Clinical Guidelines, Interventional Procedures, Research and Development, Clinical Audit, Publications, Conference, Job Vacancies etc.

The homepage is very well organized, has clear icons, is uncluttered and is so user friendly that even visually impaired can use it easily. One could register for free to get News or E-mail alerts periodically.

The section on 'Technology Appraisal' is most interesting with a wide range of Technology Appraisals available. These can be sorted by Title, wave number, date of publication or reference number. Few of the titles I found useful are: Asthma-inhaler Devices for older Children, Cervical Smear Tests-Liquid Based Cytology, Depression and Anxiety-Computerized Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Diabetes-insulin pump therapy, Diabetes-long acting insulin analogues, Diabetes-Patient education models, ECT-electroconoulsive therapy, Haemodialysis-home versus hospital, Hear disease (ischaemic) ? Coronary artery stent, Hernia (inguinal) - laparoseopic surgery, Human Growth Hormone in children, Myocardial Infarction-early thrombolysis treatment, Wisdom teeth-removal.

Recently Interventional Procedure Programme has produced guidance on uterine artery embolisation for fibroids, radio frequency ablation for hepatocellular carcinoma and minimally invasive placement of pectus bar. These help hospital administrators comprehensively assess the current understanding of these technologies thus enabling him to take decision regarding its introduction in his hospital.

NICE also brings out a monthly newsletter in electronic forms. It lists the development in various areas of NICE's activities during the previous month. Another interesting section is 'Citizens Council'. This Council takes input from the public on issues of concern like 'Are there circumstances in which the age of a person should be taken into account when NICE is making a decision about how treatments should be used in the NHS?' The discussion document produced by the Council is put on the website for feedback purposes The 'Conference' section lists out the details regarding Conferences for prospective participants. 'Job Vacancies' section lists the currently available vacancies in NICE.

Search facility is specially useful for initial surfing. The search results are intelligent and well organised. Most importantly the home page has a section on how to use the website of NICE which answers questions that any new visitor would conceivably like to ask. The site also has links to other websites relating to clinical excellence and quality of care. 'News archive' has all the press releases stored in it.

Indian healthcare providers, administrators and regulators have a lot of information available to them for their use. However, nothing can replace use of locally applicable data on clinical excellence. We need to work harder and advocate more forcefully initiation of similar activities in India if we want to see our dream of a vibrant, growing, prosperous and leadership role for our health care sector in general and health care industry in particular. But, till then, keep surfing the website of NICE!

* Deputy Chief Medical Director,
Indian Railways Medical Service, New Delhi,
Address for Correspondence:
157/4, Railway Officers Flats, Railway Colony, Basant Lane, New Delhi-110055,
E-mail: [email protected].

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