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 ninth edition of the NHS Health Check digital exemplar project update.

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. Please feel free to share this update with your colleagues.

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

This update covers work undertaken between 7th May to 21st May.

Final call for providers and commissioners to support with alpha research

we want you

Please share this opportunity and register your interest here.

In the upcoming alpha phase, we will be testing early design concepts and prototypes for how digital could support an individual when receiving their NHS Health Check results and preparing to act on them. Working with end users, we will test and refine these concepts and seek to inform a final prototype that will be developed further in the beta phase of this project. We want to ensure that we have a number of user insights from both NHS Health Check commissioners and providers to support this research, as well as participants themselves and with the recruitment of end users.

Scoping out content design

We asked PHE Digital's content designers, Iain Cooper and Vicki Litherland to investigated the NHS Health Check information leaflet for readability; we asked:

What’s the estimated reading age of existing NHS Health Check content? How does it compare to similar content, and how easily could we improve it?

We found that by editing the content and using Plain English, we could slightly reduce the reading age. However, the need to use words like diabetes and cholesterol which can’t easily be substituted kept the age higher.

To do the analysis, we used the Simplified Measure of Gobbledygook (SMOG) metric tool which is the “gold standard” for healthcare content. This analysis provide a useful benchmark but it’s still important to test our content with users.

Which aspects of the ‘digital NHS Health Check’ offer are perceived as the most valuable by our users?

show and tell of early designs

Our design team have been developing value propositions that are statements that describe the benefit of using a service to a desired user and are used to find out which aspects of the service resonate most. We will test them using cards to ‘mix and match’ until we get to an ideal value proposition.

We ask:

  • Is it unique?
  • Do people want it?
  • What resonates most?
  • Does it make sense?

We have begun to test our first drafts of these within our team and internal stakeholders.

Our first concepts are starting to emerge


The first interaction concepts we call sacrificial concepts. We use them to visualise our ideas so we can put them in front of users to test our first assumptions and narrow down our focus. Each concept tests a specific hypothesis about communication or interaction method  to rule out ideas quickly.

The photo shows some of our early design ideas.

We ask:

  • What do you think this is?
  • What is it telling you/does it make sense?
  • How would you use it?

Meet the team - Callum Bates, PHE Digital User Researcher


Each update we will be featuring a member of our team

I’m Callum, another user researcher on the NHS Health Check exemplar. I’ll be working with the team developing and executing a user research plan for alpha. As a user researcher my role is to understand the needs of people and ensure that they are considered throughout the development of new or existing services.

I’ve worked on a number of different projects within PHE Digital; most recently I was involved in a speculative design project, exploring how we could deliver value to the public through the future of preventative healthcare.

Outside of PHE I like to stay fit and enjoy nothing more than climbing mountains in the lake district.

Next Steps

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

  • Refine our logic model which will inform our evaluation
  • Iterate our early sacrificial concepts and designs based on feedback
  • Finalise the recruitment plans and screeners
  • Hold a set up for success workshop now our team is in place
  • Publish our discovery findings

Feedback on the postcard

We would like to ensure this postcard update is relevant and useful for our audience. If you would like to feedback please fill in the survey here. We will keep this survey open and review suggestions as they come in.