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HIQA awarded contract to examine evidence to support clinical guidelines

The five-year contract, worth €2.25 million, will establish the HRB-Collaboration in Ireland for Clinical Effectiveness Reviews (HRB-CICER).

The NCEC quality assures national clinical guidelines for use in healthcare in Ireland. The goal of these guidelines is to promote healthcare that is current, effective and consistent, ensuring the best possible outcomes for patients. To achieve this, the guidelines must be based on the best available scientific evidence of clinical benefits and cost-effectiveness and incorporate the budget impact of their implementation.

HRB-CICER will undertake evidence reviews and provide scientific support for the development of the NCEC’s National Clinical Guidelines. The HRB-CICER team will comprise a dedicated multidisciplinary research team supported by staff from HIQA and RCSI as well as national and international clinical and methodological experts. The team will collaborate closely with the multidisciplinary Guideline Development Groups to ensure that their work can be used to inform evidence-based recommendations.

HIQA’s Director of Health Technology Assessment and Deputy Chief Executive, Dr Máirín Ryan, said: “Clinical guidelines are important tools to enable clinicians to drive quality, safety and best use of available resources in healthcare. It is important that accurate and reliable evidence is used to develop clinical guidelines. This contract will ensure that the best available evidence is used to support the development of national clinical guidelines. This will mean that the public can be assured that the use of national clinical guidelines by healthcare providers will optimise outcomes for patients.”

“The expertise of HIQA in reviewing clinical effectiveness, safety and the economic aspects of healthcare interventions means that it is ideally positioned to lead the HRB-CICER collaboration. Our main collaborator, the HRB Centre for Primary Care Research at RCSI, has a strong track record in the conduct of systematic reviews of clinical effectiveness, including several Cochrane reviews. The establishment of HRB-CICER will also see the creation of five new specialised positions to help HIQA in its expanded role.”

“While HIQA has informally supported the work of NCEC since the development of the first National Guideline, this was not sustainable without structured resources and strategic direction. The establishment of HRB-CICER will mean that there are sufficient resources and appropriate structures to support the provision of the best available evidence needed to develop high-quality guidelines that will improve patient health.”

HRB Chief Executive Dr Graham Love added: “We need to build public trust and confidence that care in our health service is based on the latest thinking and delivered in line with international standards. This HRB funded project will deliver solid evidence and an economic case to implement robust, reliable clinical guidelines quickly. This will equip health professionals with the know-how they need to deliver care and build patient confidence that they are receiving care in line with best international standards.”

Prof Susan Smith, Professor of Primary Care Medicine at RCSI and the Clinical Lead of the HRB CICER, said the funding and establishment of the HRB CICER is a welcome development in providing clinicians and researchers “the opportunity to engage in the generation of evidence to support clinical colleagues and improve outcomes for our patients”.

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