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 twelth 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 20th June to 29th July.

Planning our user research


We have been working out what groups of users we need to include in our first round of user research. Our objectives of the research are to:

  • inform the development of the public-facing [value] propositions.
  • inform the development of the interaction concepts in line with user needs.
  • further increase our understanding of eligible citizens and providers.

We are considering users at different stages of their NHS Health Check journey from those who have not had an NHS Health Check to those who have recently received their results as well as ensuring we include different providers as part of the research.

We have had immense support and guidance from our Local Implementer National Forum (LINF) local authority colleagues, in terms of early recruitment for this initial phase. A big thanks to them and for their engagement during the recent meeting. We look forward to sharing back.

Testing our research methods: desirability testing

desirability testing

Value Propositions are statements that describe the benefit of using a service to a desired user, used to find out which aspects of the service resonate most. We can test them using cards to ‘mix and match’ an ideal value prop. 

Our user researchers Dellis Roberts and Callum Bates took our first iteration of the value propositions to try out “desirability testing” with a few staff in PHE Colindale. Users were presented with a value proposition to think about and given a list of both positive and negative adjectives. They are asked to identify which adjectives best describe the concept to them (max of 5). This method helps to quantify the extent to which people like or dislike each of the concepts and leads to additional conversations about which bits specifically did or did not resonate with them and why?

Visiting Winton Centre for Risk and Evidence Communication

Collaboration in Cambridge

We met with a team from the Winton Centre for Risk & Evidence, to share our initial concepts and learn from their expertise. They work on digital projects that communicate users’ health risk based on test results. 

Through our discussion, we validated some early design ideas. One validated design element was having users interact with data points to help them understand how their projected heart age could be decreased and giving users insight into how heart age is calculated. Another validated idea was enabling users to view their results in various formats to enhance their understanding. 

From their advice, we also improved how we frame risk. Instead of saying users have, for example, “a 25% risk of having a heart attack or stroke”, we instead say “1 in 4 people who have similar risk factors as you had a heart attack or stroke in the next ten years”.

Showcasing our discovery work at the Digital Healthcare Show

Digital Healthcare Show

Andrea Hewins, Product Manager, presented an overview of the work we did in discovery as a case study in a broader presentation on how PHE is using digital approaches and technologies to prevent ill-health. We focussed on how we are putting the needs of the user at the heart of our design approach. We ensure we have empathy with the users considering the person, the context of the service and their risk factors.

The work so far has also grabbed the attention of the cross-government service design community. This week, Lead Service Designer, Kate Burn, will present for the fourth monthly ‘Service Thursday’, 12-1pm. (If you are part of the UK Government Slack, you’ll find the YouTube live link on the #servicedesign channel).

Meet the team - Claudia Hopkins, interaction designer

Claudia Hopkins

Each update we will be featuring a member of our team

Claudia is the Interaction Designer on the team. She has been refining the initial design concepts into a single journey for the first round of testing. Once tested, she will then iterate the design concepts based on user insights, while considering the project scope and system. 

Claudia recently joined PHE from Canada. She is looking forward to learning more about the nuances of the healthcare system here and designing for public good.

Summer holiday season

We will be taking a break for the summer holidays from sending the postcard to accommodate  annual leave. Work will still be continuing and we will be back in the autumn with an update on how our concepts and research are progressing.

In the meantime, we are at the final stages of publishing our report that will provide you with a summary of the key learnings from discovery and the literature review; alongside this will be suggested recommendations to address identified barriers. The report will be published on the NHS Health Check website in August.

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