The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is developing guidance to update the quality standard in skin cancer, which covers the prevention, assessment, diagnosis, and management of malignant and non-malignant melanoma. The draft quality standard is available for comments until 10 August, and the anticipated date of publication is December 2023. In the context of real-world research, keeping up-to-speed with updates to such guidelines is an important component of well-informed decision-making throughout the design and development processes.  

What updates are likely to be made to the quality standard in skin cancer in 2023? 

The update to the quality standard in 2023 will amend or replace several statements that were prioritized in the 2016 version. Statements being proposed in the 2023 draft update include: 

  • Integrated care boards to work with local partners to implement strategies to prevent skin cancer and raise awareness of the risks of sunlight exposure in at-risk groups. 
  • People with stage IIC to IV primary melanoma to have BRAF analysis of the tumor. 
  • Adults 25 and over with stage IIC to IV melanoma, and under 25s and pregnant women with stage IIB to IV melanoma, to have a staging scan

When and how can the NICE quality standards influence real-world research? 

NICE has a library of over 200 quality standards, which can be used to help define, measure, and highlight areas for improved quality in health, public health, and social care. Such guidelines are developed with and for health and social care professionals, practitioners, and service users to aid: 

  • Improved healthcare quality and safety 
  • Enhanced translation of research into practice 
  • Development of best practice recommendations for the treatments and care of people.  

At Vitaccess, the real-world studies that we run for our clients may incorporate pre- and post-approval quantification of disease burden and/or post-approval exploration of the real-world effectiveness of novel treatments. In either context, quality standards and their evolution can inform existing needs in the disease area, as well as how new developments in the pharmaceutical sphere could be effectively implemented in the healthcare system. 

Our global research initiatives in skin cancer specifically, which include the longitudinal digital Melanoma UK study, have been, and will continue to be, shaped by resources such as the NICE quality standards. To learn more about our capabilities, including in dermatology and oncology, get in touch today at 

By Fatemeh Amini, Octavia Borecka, Sam Llewellyn  

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