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Public Health England develops evaluation toolkit for digital healthcare

24/04/19

Mark Say Managing Editor

Public Health England (PHE) is developing an evaluation toolkit for use in the development of digital health products.

Toolkit shown on laptop

It has completed the alpha phase of the project and created a template for teams to decide on the intended health outcomes and how to achieve them. It is now preparing to begin the beta phase to build the full toolkit.

The project team is also aiming to create an evaluation service for organisations’ delivery teams to help them understand the impact of any products on health outcomes.

In addition, a PHE blogpost says it is exploring the idea of evaluation training, in which the toolkit could be used. It is aiming to build on the work done during its proof of concept to assess what would be involved in the training.

The prototype for the toolkit has been developed through a project with the team building the Couch to 5K app – which is aimed at encouraging people to begin running for fitness – and included the creation of a log model. This is a visual diagram to show how a product will work and has also been used by teams in the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and NHS Digital.

NICE input

The work was carried out with teams from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, NHS Service Manual and Apps Library to ensure the toolkit fits with their work and can be linked from their platforms.

“This way, the evaluation advice will spread through the health system through colleagues,” the blog says.

PHE has also set up evaluation communities on the Slack and KHub platforms, and is working to build the evaluation into its approvals and spend control process to help distribute funding on the basis of health outcomes. It says that evaluation may also form a part of the DHSC’s spend controls, pipeline guidance and assurance process.

So far it has received feedback on the evaluation process from academics at Edinburgh University, King’s College London and Imperial College London. This helped it to develop definitions of the most important terms and to respond to early testing to produce prototypes earlier.

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0

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