PHE's digital exemplar update: NHS Health Check

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PHE's digital exemplar update: NHS Health Check

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Welcome to the seventh 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 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. If you would no longer like to receive this update please email

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

This update covers work undertaken between 1st April to 18th April.

Click here for links to all previous updates.

Recap on the journey so far..

Journey so far

Preparing for alpha

The team have been finalising the business case for the alpha phase, which has now been submitted for approval. Once we have sign off, we will be able to commence the alpha phase. In preparation for this, the core team have been working on finalising the alpha research plan, logic model, evaluation strategy and have been identifying a User Researcher, Interaction Designer and Front-End Developer to joint the core team to ensure we have full capacity working on the 6 month alpha in place.  

For further information on how an alpha phase works click here.

Recruitment for alpha: commissioners & providers

we want you

As we are fast approaching the start of alpha, we would like to know if you are interested in being a part of the alpha research phase. In this phase we will be testing early concepts and prototypes of digital elements of the NHS Health Check and using feedback to improve them. We will continue testing and developing these ideas throughout the alpha phase in iterative loops until we have refined the service design.

We will need input from both NHS Health Check commissioners and providers to be a part of this research. If you or a colleague would like to find out more, please do share this opportunity with them and register your interest here.

Sharing the learning

knowledge sharing

We want to make sure that the findings from discovery are as helpful as possible for everyone working on the NHS Health Check programme. Therefore, we will be looking to publish the findings from the literature review and the key user insights from the user research we did in discovery.

Interesting user research insights have been shared by our colleagues in NHS digital on the NHS app that we will be taking into consideration.

Behavioural Insights literature review

Literature review

On Tuesday 16 April the Centre for Behaviour Change (CBC) and PHE’s Behavioural Insights team presented the findings from the systematic literature review and behavioural analysis they conducted. The key barriers to and facilitators of NHS HC-related behaviours were discussed, and recommendations of potentially relevant intervention functions and Behaviour Change Techniques  (BCTs) to deliver these functions were provided along with suggested methods for selecting from the options of relevant content. The Behavioural Insights team are now working very closely with the service design team to translate this knowledge into engaging digital content and designs that we will be testing in the Alpha phase.

Alongside this work, the PHE Behavioural Insights team are currently undertaking a review of systematic reviews to identify the effectiveness of digital interventions in improving diet, physical activity, alcohol and smoking outcomes in non-patient adult populations. This work will assess the relative effectiveness of different modes of intervention delivery, as well as identify any differences by participant sociodemographic characteristics. The findings of this review are intended to inform the development of interventions that may enhance engagement with the NHS Health Check programme, as well as wider cardiovascular protective behavioural outcomes.

Meet the team: Kate Burn - Senior Service Designer

Kate Burn

Each update we will be featuring a member of our team

As PHE digital’s Senior Service Designer, she translates User Research into outputs that people can use, designs better ways of doing things for people, and redesigns existing services as well as creating new ones.

On the NHS Health Check digital exemplar, Kate collaborates with the team to investigate what people want, understand what they need, experiment with solutions and exploring how the system can deliver a more effective service. This involves mapping out how people experience the service today, spotting the bits that aren’t working well,  generating new ideas for those aspects, and working with other designers to make those ideas tangible. She helps the team frame hypotheses and create prototypes and user testing experiments to answer them.

Next Steps

Some of the things we will do in the next 2 weeks are:

  • getting new starters in our team up to speed with the project
  • starting to work on early ideas for concepts
  • engaging with our local authority colleges at the Local Implementer National Forum
  • sharing our learning with other government departments
  • working out how best to share our findings so far