The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has launched an online portal to help technology companies understand how to break into the UK health market.

Launched on 29 April, HealthTech Connect, aims to help identify and support new health technologies as they move from inception to adoption in the UK health and care system.

The free-to-use portal will help companies to understand what information is needed by decision makers and clarify possible routes to market access.

It will also help decision makers to better plan for the introduction and adoption of health technologies.

Companies have to register on the HealthTech Connect website in order to enter and update information about their technology as it develops.

This information is used to determine if the technology is suitable for consideration by an organisation that offers support to health technology developers; for example with funding, technology development, evidence generation, market access, reimbursement, adoption.

It will also be used to identify if the technology is suitable for consideration for evaluation by a UK health technology assessment programme.

Technologies that are suitable for support or evaluation will be able to access this through HealthTech Connect. This will avoid companies having to provide the same or similar information about their technology separately to a different organisation or programme.

Meindert Boysen, director of the Centre for Health technology Evaluation at NICE, said: “HealthTech Connect is a clear and simple point of entry for companies developing health technologies, be it medical devices, diagnostics or digital health technologies, to access support and potential routes to national evaluation programmes.

“Ultimately the aim of HealthTech Connect is to help get promising new health technologies to the people who will benefit from them, faster. We expect it to contribute to reducing the complexity, and often duplication, involved in getting medical devices, diagnostics and digital health technologies adopted in the UK.”

Since the initial “soft” launch of the system in February, over 100 companies have registered to use the portal.

As well as developing the HealthTech Connect portal, NICE has also recently published an updated version of its evidence standards framework for digital health technologies.

The update sets out requirements that need to be met by different types of heath technologies, taking into account feedback from stakeholders after the first version was published in December 2018.

In March the Academic Health Science Networks, in partnership with the Association of British HealthTech Industries, launched its own “routemap” to help tech companies navigate the “innovation maze” and become a commercial success.