Prevention and the role of the IVD industry
Prevention forms part of the Health and Social Care Secretary’s stated priorities for the health and social care system, alongside technology and the healthcare workforce. With the prevention Green Paper due shortly, BIVDA lays out how the IVD industry can help deliver improved outcomes matching this priority.
In vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are used in many more ways than to make a diagnosis; IVDs can also identify or rule out causes of ill health, be used in screening for preventative treatment and to safeguard the blood supply for transfusion, monitor treatment progression and, increasingly, to determine the suitability of patient cohorts for receiving specific drugs (companion diagnostics). The in vitro diagnostics industry is clear that it wants to continue to thrive, develop and innovate, offering benefits for the NHS, the economy, and most importantly, patients all across the UK. While in vitro diagnostics (IVDs) are already making a significant difference in all of the priority areas, the industry is clear that building a shared vision for the future will require collaboration and a regulatory framework that is conducive to investment and innovation.
While the NHS has typically focused on delivering healthcare in a hospital, there is now increasing recognition of the critical role that prevention and early diagnosis play in the sustainability of our health and social care system and in improving patient outcomes. IVDs have played a crucial role for many years in ensuring blood and blood products are safe, and in detecting infection and infection risks in pregnancy. In recent years, more tests for risk of heart disease have been used to help guide patient behaviour. Now, with new technologies for cancer and genetic defect detection available, new roles for IVDs are opening up. The UK government has recently announced a roll out a package of measures aimed at detecting three out of four cancers at an early stage by 20281. A new NHS Genomic Medicine Service2 is also being rolled out for children and adults with rare diseases and some types of cancer, so that doctors can provide more personalised treatment.
The IVD industry can help identify people at risk and the information base from genomics will help by providing the critical insights needed to act on the right information at the right time and allow for better tailoring of preventative efforts. It is therefore critical that a vision for the future recognises the importance of the IVD industry and the significant role of diagnostics in improving quality and outcomes in relation to patient care.