Last week we hosted the second in our series of #digitalhealth webinars and we were delighted to be joined by George Wright (Communications Manager) and Cazz Ward (Assistant Director – ICT and Digital) from The Big Life Group.

George, Cazz and I discussed the ‘My Life Goals’ project which has involved the creation of an app and web portal to give The Big Life Group’s health and wellbeing programme clients greater control over their goals and achievements as part of an enhanced client/coach relationship to support lasting positive behaviour change.

Throughout the webinar, George and Cazz shared their knowledge, advice and what they’ve learnt along the way whilst they talked us through their experience of the design and development process and I’ve tried to summarise a few of the key points below:

  • Keeping things simple can often lead to creating something more useful for the end user
  • Being clear about the purpose of the app and the business case behind it will help to avoid project creep. In the case of ‘My Life Goals’, this was very much about improving the experience of service users and staff and if proposed development work didn’t contribute to this then there was a clear rationale to not progress with that element.
  • Engaging with all stakeholders has been critical to delivery and the nature of the deliverables changed based on points of view from both service users and coaches. Having an enthusiastic client base has made it easier to recruit and retain session participants.
  • The ‘My Life Goals’ project is not focussed on channel shift but a steer towards channel enhancement by using digital tools to facilitate better communication and create a more effective model of behaviour change.
  • The objective of using simple behaviour change prompts within the application, is to encourage participants to finish their journey with The Big Life group and therefore realise positive changes in their lifestyle.
  • It’s important to consider the role of digital practitioners and how front line workers can be supported during the deployment of digital health tools so they are comfortable and confident in using them and it enhances their experience too.
  • The information governance requirements involved in satisfying multiple commissioners can be complex and the solution needs to be well planned with risk appropriately managed. The data controller and data owner should be well defined and a clear data storage, retention and disposal strategy in place.
  • A clear privacy notice that explains the data owning relationships needs to be present in line with ICO guidance and not hidden within the user journey.
  • All servers and infrastructure used to process and store data should be located in a country where peoples’ rights under the UK Data Protection Act are protected.

We closed the webinar with George and Cazz’s key pieces of advice for those embarking on a digital health project of this nature which included…

  • Make your process is service user-led – by engaging with a diverse group of people, they can generate ideas, correct wrong assumptions and steer the project in a way that you wouldn’t be able to do alone.
  • Even if you don’t have a full specification for delivery at the start of the project, make sure you have a mission and set of principles which you can sense check against throughout.
  • Don’t use technology for technology’s sake – and that’s coming from an IT Director!!! But it’s sound advice and goes back to keeping it simple with an emphasis on not reinventing the wheel where something is already being done well.

This only just scratches the surface of the discussion and there’s too much to share in one blog post so below is a recording of the webinar for you to listen to at your leisure.

We hope you find this useful but if you have any questions or would like to make sure you’re kept up to date with the next in our series of webinars, please get in touch!

You can follow the Twitter activity from the event at #hmawebinar