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What does creating a ‘digital front door’ mean?

Professor Jonathan Benger, Digital Citizen Portfolio Lead at NHS England, introduces our National Digital Channels Platform and Integration Strategy which aims to make our digital channels more open, collaborative and efficient across the health and care system.

Last month we published our National Digital Channels Platform and Integration Strategy, which supports the plans laid out in the Department for Health and Social Care’s Plan for Digital Health and Social Care.

It sets out the technical capabilities and services available for commissioners and suppliers across our national digital channels.

The author Professor Jonathan Benger

Making the most of our national digital channels

When I refer to our national digital channels, I'm talking about the NHS App and NHS website, both of which are underpinned by NHS login.

You might already be aware of the impressive figures relating to our national digital channels. The NHS App has over 30 million registrations and NHS login has 43 million confirmed accounts and 71 partners integrated with the service. The NHS website has seen 74 million visits a month on average in 2022.

These huge numbers show we are already putting health services directly into the hands of the public. That offers us a great opportunity to use these channels to reduce demand on frontline services, give patients access to quicker and more effective care at their fingertips and save the health and care system time and money. 

However, we know through conversations with the system and suppliers that we need to improve awareness of what these channels can offer the healthcare system and its patients, so these channels become part of the ‘digital front door’ to the NHS.

This is an important step in our digital journey as we strive to offer the public a personalised, accessible and equitable digital NHS experience.

Supporting the work of commissioners and suppliers

My hope is that our platform strategy will help commissioners and suppliers understand what technical capabilities exist across our national digital channels, and how to make use of these services, so they can innovate at scale and deliver digital transformation. For commissioners, this should help them to achieve their local plans, and for suppliers, I hope this information enables quicker and cost-effective delivery of services.

I also hope that by sharing this platform offer now, we can reduce duplication of services delivered at both national and local level, allow clearer planning by partners, and improve insights into usage too.

This is an important step in our digital journey as we strive to offer the public a personalised, accessible and equitable digital NHS experience.

The aim of this strategy is to:
  • be more open, collaborative and efficient across all of our digital channels
  • reduce duplication of services delivered at both national and local level
  • allow clearer planning for our partners and third parties who work with them
  • support other teams (internal, suppliers and external partners) to quickly develop new services and experiences

Tell us what you think

This strategy covers the next couple of years as a starting point, and we’ll work with colleagues across the system to update it as time goes on. 

I want to know what our system colleagues and suppliers think about this offer. Does it make sense, is it helpful, what’s missing, and how can we improve it for next year? If you want to get involved, please start by completing our online survey which closes on 15 November 2022.

Find out more

Read the new National Digital Channels Platform and Integration Strategy in full.  

Find out the latest on the NHS App, including a roadmap of future developments, guidance for commissioners, and information for suppliers.


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Last edited: 13 October 2022 3:00 pm