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 tenth 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 22nd May to 31st May.

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How an agile project works, what is alpha?

phases of an agile project

We have now completed discovery which was all about understanding what our users (the public, providers and commissioners) needs are and are now in the early stages of alpha. We are getting our early prototypes (paper concepts at this stage) ready for testing and planning how we test these. We are currently working on the publication of our findings from discovery, which will be with you in due course.

Some key points from how alpha works

  • Alpha is a chance to try out different solutions to the problems you learnt about during your discovery.
  • Alpha is mainly spent building different prototypes and testing ideas.
    • We shouldn’t be afraid to challenge the way things are done at the moment, alpha is a chance to explore new approaches.
  • Throughout alpha we will
    • build things that are just complex enough to let you test different ideas
    • expect to throw away lots of the ideas we test
  • By the end of alpha, we should be in a position to decide which of the ideas you’ve tested are worth taking forward to beta.

Getting our approvals in place..

Digital service standard

Before any central government digital project can officially move between the phases above the team must prove they are meeting the GDS spend controls assessment criteria. We do this by providing evidence for all the points listed in the criteria. Assessors from both the Government Digital Service and also NHS-X check though our evidence and can ask us any questions where they don’t feel it’s clear.

They want to ensure that digital projects in government are being run in the best way, are giving value for money and that user needs are at the centre of everything we do.

We had our assessment meeting with representatives from GDS and NHS-X this week and they are happy for us to proceed into alpha.

Sharing our learning..

Eleanor & Chryssa presenting

On 22 May, Principal Behavioural Scientist, Dr Chryssa Stefanidou and CVD prevention subject matter expert, Eleanor Wilkinson from the team travelled to Warrington to present at the North West Behavioural Science Symposium. The NHS Health Check digital exemplar was used as one of four case studies, to share learning on how we have embedded behavioural science into this digital exemplar. We were delighted with the positive response and feedback, it is always great to be able to share learning and get out to speak with local teams about the project.

The talk focused on how we integrated behavioural science into the discovery phase of the NHS Health Check digital project and how we plan to continue this moving on to the alpha phase.

User Research planning..

Callum and Dellis - our user researchers - will take the early concepts and later prototypes out to test with users.  To maximise what we learn from each round of testing, they need to ensure they have a clear plan for each round, including a clear set of questions we are trying to answer. To do this we will form hypotheses to prove or disprove.

Following each round of testing the insights found will feed back into the next iteration of the designs of the prototype. We will iterate and test designs several times during alpha incorporating the feedback from each round into the next iteration.


Meet the team - Manisha Mistry, PHE Digital Delivery Manager


Each update we will be featuring a member of our team

I’m Manisha the Delivery Manager on the NHS Health Check exemplar. As a delivery manager my role is to help manage the team to deliver in an agile setting. I also help the team to collaborate and create a culture of learning through agile ceremonies. I encourage transparency between team members and try and generate the best conditions for the team to work together.

When I’m not in the office, you’ll find me either in the gym or in the kitchen experimenting!

Next steps..

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

  • Meet with procurement to start to plan how we engage with the market
  • Continue stakeholder engagement at several network meetings
  • Gather feedback on our initial designs from PHE CVD prevention team
  • Refine our plans for user research