In partnership with the NHS in Somerset

Gathering feedback from people to help promote the NHS App

Summary

Without careful, well designed and representative data analysis, a full and fair picture on which to base strategic decisions was going to prove elusive

Problem

The NHS front door, via the NHS App (along with NHS.uk) are amazing resources for ciitizens to support self care and self management, as well as order prescriptions and book appointments. But uptake has been relatively low for such a potentially vital piece of NHS digital infrastructure.

To be able to start to address the factors that influence uptake of the NHS App, a deep understanding of local factors in specific patient groups was lacking.

Without careful, well designed and representative data analysis, including groups that were at high risk of digital exclusion while often harder to engage, a full and fair picture on which to base strategic decisions was going to prove elusive

Solution

We’re proud to be working in Somerset to help citizens access and use the NHS App by first understanding the barriers that might prevent people from doing so.

Through this project we spoke to people across Somerset and shared those stories with our NHS colleagues.

We sampled county wide data along with deep qualitative interviews and UX session data from protected groups and used this learning to design community activation programs, social media campaigns and online resource pages to support uptake of the NHS App.

We provided NHS colleagues with insights to support policy and communications decisions around increasing uptake of the NHS App. Somerset, while perceived as a rural and relatively prosperous part of the country, is faced with the universal challenge of providing excellent care to an ageing population while also beset with the worst figures for social mobility in the UK (young people in West Somerset).

Our citizen-centric approach to digital adoption helps when co-designing strategies. Following an extensive citizen engagement exercise, which consisted of population wide surveys, user experience sessions and qualitative interviews, a number of challenges to uptake and utilisation of the NHS App were identified.

General lack of awareness of the service was a predominant theme, along with confusion with other services (such as NHS Track and Trace) and concerns around the way individual data would be handled.

Pockets of GP practices were promoting the use of the NHS App, but in general there was a lack of awareness around the features and benefits of the service.

Our insights informed a range of activation initiatives, including going direct to citizens through social media to raise awareness of the NHS App, facilitating partnerships and providing tailored resources to community influencers to help engage with individuals not currently accessing digital channels. We have also been able to develop a blueprint, demonstrating ways to increase uptake and utilisation of digital services.

As we know, through higher uptake of vital digital channels, especially in groups of citizens at high risk of exclusion, we can mitigate the poorer socioeconomic outcomes associated with digital exclusion and use these experiences to inform an ever maturing blueprint for use across the system.