NHS.UK Alpha sets out its principles

In a recent blog post for NHS.UK Alpha, the head of digital service transformation at the Department of Health, Nayeema Chowdhury, has written a new post exploring the team’s approach to delivery and lists what the public can expect to see over the next 12 weeks.

NHS.UK Alpha is a joint initiative between the Department of Health and NHS England to “set the vision for NHS.UK”.

Within the post, Chowdhury explains that the team delivering the project is made up of two sides – strategy and build – who are together creating a “vision and a plan”, and also “making prototypes to explain that thinking”.

The post lays out the principles for NHS.UK Alpha, which guide the way in which the team works.


NHS.UK Alpha approach to delivery

These principles include:

“Bringing together lots of different expertise and ideas to build the best service for users”: The NHS.UK Alpha team is made up of people from NHS England, Department of Health, NHS Choices and individuals with digital and clinical expertise.

“Listen to what users tell them and design for everyone”: The team plans to be “user-focussed” in their approach to delivery. They will be testing their ideas with users, health care professionals, digital inclusions groups and third sector organisations in order to make sure their output is “well-informed”.

“Challenge existing ideas and processes and challenge their own ideas”: The team will be building prototypes to highlight areas of digital opportunity within the health and care system, which will involve examining key questions.

Chowdhury said: “Similar to the Design Council ‘double-diamond’ approach, we began by creating broad user experience maps on a number of topic areas (e.g type 2 diabetes, mild to moderate anxiety and depression), noting the interactions with the health and care system and creating a detailed picture with data from interviews with patients and health care professionals.”

The team then compared the maps to pinpoint any common interactions and areas where they could look into digital solutions.

Having a user-led approach has helped us take a step back from the systems and structures currently in place and understand where users may really benefit from digital change”, Chowdhury added.

“Design with data and use user feedback to iterate”: One of the NHS.UK Alpha principles is to explore analytics data of current services and read up on research material.

“Always use clear English and make the difficult easy to understand”: By constantly reminding themselves of the end-user, the team plans to avoid using jargon and technical complexity.

“Be open and transparent in their work”: The team will show the public what they’re doing by talking and blogging about it.


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