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Transformation blog posts 2019

A space for everybody working to improve the NHS and social care system’s use of data and digital technology to share insights, ideas and experiences. Published by NHS Digital, NHS England and NHSX. These are the blog posts from 2019.

Using logic models to assess digital health products

A group of staff take part in a logic model workshop

How do you evaluate the success of a digital health product? Ian Roddis and Vicki Litherland explain how digital delivery teams from NHS Digital and Public Health England worked together to assess whether the NHS website is fit for purpose.

Read about the role of logic models

Why we are withdrawing the NHS Common User Interface

Image of Matt Edgar, Head of Design at NHS Digital, sat at a table

In the past 10 years, the world of digital health has changed massively. Matt Edgar, Head of Design at NHS Digital talks about the decision to deprecate and then withdraw the NHS Common User Interface and explains how the way we design and build digital services has moved with the times.

Read more about the decision to retire these design standards

Am I any good? Banishing self-doubt with the Digital Academy

Group picture from the NHS digital academy cohort one, wearing matching t shirtsJames Freed, Chief Information Officer at Health Education England,  was part of cohort one of the NHS Digital Academy, a virtual organisation set up to develop a new generation of excellent digital leaders. Here, he reflects on his experience - and how it helped him tackle imposter syndrome.

Read more about the Digital Academy

Taking the leap: getting staff and patients to use the NHS App

Person using the NHS App on the mobile phone

During pilot testing for the NHS App a reception team member from a Liverpool GP practice said: “We don’t normally get involved with digital stuff, but we thought we’d give it a go because it’s from the NHS.”

Read more about how we are rolling out the NHS App

Creating new standards of design with the NHS website

Dean Vipond, Lead Designer of the NHS Digital WebsiteThe NHS website is huge. It has been running for around 12 years now and has tens of thousands of pages.  As with any website of that size and age, different page styles and ways of presenting information arise.

Read more about our work on design standards

Tips for effective accessibility research

Ashley Wheat

How do you make sure your research project is truly accessible? Ashley Wheat, User Researcher on the NHS website, explains how the team worked with people with a range of access needs to improve their product.

Read more about our tips for accessibility reasearch

GP systems framework is key to sharing data

Connecting systems

Procurement doesn’t usually ignite embers in the eyes of GPs and practice staff, but the new GP IT Futures Framework is genuinely lighting a fire in my belly as a practising GP and Clinical Director for Primary Care Technology at NHS Digital, says Dr Stephen Miller.

Read more about the GP systems framework

The future's bright for general practice

A screen showing the Digital Buying Catalogue

Justine Brightwell, Programme Head for GP IT Futures, looks at the ambitious programme to revolutionise how IT systems procurement works for general practice.

Discover more about the Digital Buying Catalogue and the programme

Apps that change lives

A group of male and female patients look at and use laptops and mobile devices

The NHS Apps Library, which went fully live in February, recently recorded its millionth visit. Lead User Researcher Janet Morgan describes how the team works with users to assure tools that are useful.

Read more about the NHS Apps Library

Creating connections – implementing NHS WiFi across England

Member of NHS staff assisting a person with their mobile phone

Prior to the installation of NHS WiFi in July 2018, many practice staff had to pay for mobile WiFi. Now, thanks to WiFi connectivity, having to use personal mobile data is a thing of the past. For example, at the Crystal Peaks Medical Centre in Sheffield not only can GP registrars access learning materials whilst at the centre, tutorials can be facilitated without having to use a desktop PC in a consultation room.

Read more about our work on NHS WiFi

Passwordless login: the search for speed with security

Stylised visual of a biometric fingerprint

The NHS App aims to allow the public to fulfil their healthcare needs at the touch of a button. However, a security-conscious, multi-factor authentication login process proved a major ‘speed bump’ for users. Sean Devlin, a Tech Lead on the NHS App discusses how his team and their counterparts in NHS login worked together to allow people to login without passwords.  

Read more about logging in without a password

The wonder of webinars in helping patients

Specialist Gastroenterology Community Dietetic team recording their latest webinar

A team of specialist gastroenterology community dieticians in Somerset used webinars to increase patient understanding of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).  Allied Health Professions Digital Practice award winner Marianne Williams explains why this technology is beneficial to both healthcare professionals and patients.

Read more about our work in webinars


Tell us where data-driven technology is heading

Graphic for the artificial intelligence survey

Help shape the future of harnessing data-driven technologies in UK health and social care in a new survey. Find out more from Dr Indra Joshi, Digital Health & AI Clinical Lead with NHSX and Jess Morley, AI Lead with NHSX.

Read more about and complete the survey

Online forms open access to mental health care

Looking at the online mental health referral form on a tablet computer

The number of people seeking online help with mental health issues including anxiety, and depression is rising. Content designer Martine Gallie looks at how NHS Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) teams can improve their online self-referral processes.

Read more about this online forms project

What’s next for data in the NHS?

An abstract image representing medical data digitally

Geraint Lewis, Chief Data Officer at NHS England, brings to life some of the ways in which data is already transforming health and care services and outlines his top priorities for the next year.

Read more about data innovation in the NHS

The NHS App: building a digitally accessible front door to the NHS

A blind man with a mobile device and a female mobile user

If the NHS App is going to become known, as the NHS Long Term Plan anticipates, as a ‘nationally available online way for people to access the NHS’, it is critical that it is accessible to all. David Hodnett, Programme Delivery Lead for the NHS App, explains why dropping a hyphen can be the difference between comprehension and confusion for some users.

Read more about making the NHS App more accessible

The NHS App: thinking big, starting small, scaling fast

Woman using NHS App.

The NHS App is already allowing people who have never used a GP online service to interact with their practices digitally. Tara Donnelly, Chief Digital Officer at NHS England, describes the agile approach to the app’s roll out.

Read more about the NHS App

Learning from each other to improve care - Sharing digital blueprints across the NHS 

Picture with four clinical staff walking down the aisle of ward 30, using Wirral Millennium to discuss a patient treatment, Wirral University Teaching HospitalHow can the sharing of Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) blueprints help improve outcomes for patients and staff?  Here Paul Charnley, CIO co-chair of the Blueprinting Steering Group for the Global Digital Exemplars programme, gives his thoughts on the launch of the first round of 60 blueprints and how he’s learning from them too.

Read more of Paul's thoughts

Driving a patient-centric view to improve technology in healthcare

Sam Shah

Dr Sam Shah, Director of Digital Development at NHS England, considers the impact of new digital tools and services on patients and how this should shape the future of technology.

Read more about how we are developing a patient centric view

Icons: avoid temptation and start with user needs

NHS icons for action link and expander controls

Icons represent ideas in a simple, visual way. But we must use them carefully, and only where they help people. Users’ needs must come first, and we shouldn’t be afraid to challenge how people use them.

Read more about how icons represent a simple, visual way of signposting on the website

Building accessible and mobile-first services for the NHS

Screenshot of the NHS.UK prototype kitAfter we relaunched the NHS website last August, we needed a way of sharing what we learnt with other digital teams to help them build accessible, mobile-first products and services too. David Hunter, an interaction designer in the NHS website redesign team at NHS Digital, explains how we did this.

Read more about building accessible and mobile-first services

Creating a blueprint for a new electronic patient record system 

Illustration showing different services being connected

NHS England’s Global Digital Exemplar (GDE) programme is using blueprints based on the lessons learned by exemplars to help other trusts introduce similar improvements. Here, Robbie Cline, Director of ICT Programmes for Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust​ describes his experience.

Read more about Robbie's experience


A landmark moment: electronic prescriptions for controlled drugs

row of medicine on a pharmacy shelf

Controlled drugs are now part and parcel of the Electronic Prescription Service. Dr Ian Lowry, Director for Digital Integration, explains how this seismic shift came about and what it means for GP practices, community pharmacies and patients.

Read more about how the evolution of EPS, now including controlled drugs, has made a huge difference to GPs and pharmacists...

Mental health help at the click of a mouse

A computer user clicking on a mouse

NHS.UK is making it easier for people with anxiety and depression to refer themselves online for NHS treatment. Content designer Martine Gallie explains how the team helped to make that happen.

Read more about this work

NHS Apps Library: moving from Beta to Live

Image of Victoria Hunt, product owner and author of this blog.

The NHS Apps Library’s vision is to enable its users to find trusted health and wellbeing apps, assessed by the NHS as clinically safe and secure to use. Find out more about how we assess apps against a range of standards

The Beta version of the NHS Apps Library (, was launched in April 2017 when the Apps and Wearables programme was in its infancy.

Read more about how the NHS Apps Library's design has evolved as the site ends its beta phase and officially goes live.


Creating better content for users with low health literacy

The front page of the NHS website

We’re working to improve the NHS website by making it better for people who struggle to use patient information. Here, content designer Mark Robinson and user researcher Ana Savic explain. 

Read more about our work to improve the NHS website

How to design a login for the modern NHS

black and white head and shoulders of the author

In her recent blog article about user research for NHS login, Rochelle Gold explained how we did user research to understand how people currently use NHS services, how they access them, and what challenges they are facing. This research told us how people needed a single way to access their health services, records and apps, and this is the challenge NHS login was set to address.

Read more about the insight, research and design work of the team behind NHS login.


Pee and poo and the language of health

Holding a phone looking at 'P' in the A to Z

People come to the NHS website to get answers to their questions about health, so they need web pages that are easy to understand. The content designers who write our pages know that the words we use affect how well, and how quickly, people understand. And that affects their health.

We research and choose the words that work best – and now we’ve published some of them in an A to Z list for people who write about health and the NHS.

Read more about the research that has gone into deciding which words we should use...

Scaling up: delivering a national 111 online service

Hand of someone walking down road holding phone with 111 Online up on the screen

Where do you go when you have an urgent medical problem? NHS 111 online began with this basic user need – we wanted to provide a fast, convenient alternative for people who would rather access urgent healthcare advice online.

Since 2017, I’ve had the pleasure of working with the NHS 111 online team. As coverage spreads and the service develops, reiterates and continues to evolve, here’s some of what we’ve learnt along the way.

Read more about the work of the team delivering 111 online.

A single identity for health – how user research influences the design of the NHS login

A title image showing a picture of Rochelle Gold, lead user researcher for NHS login and Personal Health Records, with the title of her blog A single identity for health – how user research influences the design of the NHS login

It is such a straightforward concept that you would have thought we’d already have it: a single way to allow people to use one set of details to log into all their digital health services. We’ve been working over the past few years to develop this simple but powerful capability, which we call the NHS login, and it’s been a fascinating journey into the heart of our users’ experiences and expectations.

Read more about user research's influence into the design of the NHS login