PHE's digital exemplar update: NHS Health Check

PHE banner image

PHE's digital exemplar update: NHS Health Check

Health checks logo

Welcome to the fourth edition of the NHS Health Check digital exemplar project update.  This project brings together PHE’s national Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) Prevention team, Behavioural Insight team and PHE's Digital team to use a blend of service design and behavioural insights to look at the potential for digital technology to support the NHS Health Check programme.

You are receiving this update because you are directly involved in the exemplar or because we have identified you as someone who would be interested in our project.

To find out more about the project vision and progress to date visit the  NHS Health Check website.

This update covers work undertaken between 12th December and 15th February.

Recap on the journey so far..

Journey so far

CVD Prevention Conference: Facing the future - The role of digital technology in the NHS Health Check

Dawn Harper at the CVD prevention conference

On Thursday 14 February, the core team were delighted to join 500 other delegates in Manchester for the sixth annual CVD prevention conference, where PHE launched the first ever national ambitions for CVD prevention.

The team were invited to present on the journey so far and key findings from discovery 2.0, along with other work from the PHE behavioural insights team and emerging digital work by Southwark Council. Presentations from the conference can be found here in the coming days.

Behavioural Insights literature review


The UCL Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) have conducted an evidence review and  behavioural analysis using behavioural science models and frameworks to identify key drivers (i.e. barriers and facilitators) of whether people initially take up an NHS Health Check and then continue to engage, to support improvements in the implementation, delivery and impact of the NHS Health Checks.

The results of this analysis will now be used to inform the interpretation of the findings from Discovery 2.0 and support the planning of the Alpha phase of the NHS Health Check digital work stream. Further detail of the findings from this analysis were presented at the PHE CVD prevention conference. The slides from the event will be uploaded onto the NHS Health Check website.

Preparing for alpha: prioritisation workshop

Outputs from all the user research stages (interviews with end users, providers and commissioners; concept workshop and behavioural analysis) were considered in the analysis, identifying 16 areas of opportunity. This meant there were 16 areas of the NHS Health Check which could benefit from a change in the way the service is designed. It is important to note that this is not limited to digital change.

Each opportunity area was scored by PHE stakeholders from the CVD prevention team, behavioural insights team and the digital team considering:

  • Risk of not tackling it
  • Impact
  • Cost
  • Difficulty
  • Is anyone else already doing this?
  • Is digital the best way to solve this?

Following prioritisation, the areas identified as possibilities to explore in alpha are:

  1. ‘Zoom out’ - A high level service design considering what a fully digital end to end NHS Health Check could look like across the entire pathway.
  2. ‘Zoom in - A more detailed service design focussing on digital support for those identified by the NHS Health Check as needing to make a lifestyle change.

Next steps

The team will now be using the findings from discovery to put together a clear business case for the alpha phase. This will involve designing the prototypes, continually reviewing the evidence and having a clear recruitment plan to gain the best possible insights. If you are interested in supporting this phase, please contact

Eleanor Wilkinson, a former member of the CVD prevention team has now returned as the CVD prevention lead within the multidisciplinary core team for this project.