There are abundant opportunities for using IDEAL in device regulation, clinical research, coverage and purchasing policy and health technology assessment.
The most important objective of current IDEAL strategy is to get the Framework and Recommendations implemented in relevant fields of work.
Theoretical constructs which have no practical value tend to atrophy and cannot contribute much to the advancement of science and practice. There are abundant opportunities for using IDEAL in device regulation, clinical research, coverage and purchasing policy and health technology assessment.
It is also important to analyse empirically examples of IDEAL use, to allow evaluation of its effects in actual practice and to allow modifications to the Framework and Recommendations where these appear necessary.
IDEAL is based on the principles of clinical epidemiology and of medical ethics, but is not in itself an evidence-based construct, having arise through expert consensus (Evidence level 4 or 5). A programme of evaluation is therefore very important and this in turn requires a pipeline of projects to analyse.
We therefore conducted a Policy Workshop in October 2020 with representatives of the key UK organisations whose work makes IDEAL particularly relevant to them – the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Authority (MHRA) the National Institutes for Health Research (NIHR), NICE and the Specialist Commissioning unit within NHS England.
Some of the key conclusions were:
Following the workshop we have worked to follow up on the discussions and seek interactions which might lead to practical projects using IDEAL – which in turn we would hope to use in our empirical analysis of IDEAL strengths and weaknesses. Progress to the end of March 2021 is as follows: