by Dr Henry Potts – 24th February, 2020

Dr Henry Potts is an Associate Professor at University College London’s Institute of Health Informatics and an Academic Advisor to Public Health England (PHE) Digital. He was involved in producing the recently published PHE guide to evaluating digital health products and services. Here Dr Potts writes for DigitalHealth.London with a call for feedback on these new resources.  

Public Health England have launched an online guide on how to evaluate digital health products and services, and we want your feedback!

Evaluations can be useful when developing digital interventions in healthcare and they are vital for proving which digital products are effective (and cost effective). NICE (The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) have laid out an Evidence Standards Framework for Digital Health Technologies, defining what good evaluation looks like. But the team at PHE realised there’s a knowledge gap around how to carry out the evaluations that NICE recommends. The new PHE guide is designed to fill that gap.

I’ve been working with the DigitalHealth.London Accelerator programme for some time. When meeting companies on the programme, I’ve witnessed the desire to carry out high quality evaluations but have also seen the difficulties these companies face in doing so. Digital health products present many challenges for evaluation compared to other health services. Digital is a rapidly evolving field. Digital products are often complex, involving multiple components. Digital products may exist within a crowded ecosystem.

The guide seeks to cut through these complexities. It goes through the key points to consider when planning an evaluation and describes a range of different methods for carrying out evaluations, with case studies to illustrate them.

We’ve done a lot of user testing in order to develop the guide, but we need more feedback. We wrote this guide for anyone developing or running a digital health product, so now we need your feedback on what else you want us to do, or what we could do better. We want you to tell us what parts of the guide work for you, which don’t, and how we can make it better.

You will see that there are some gaps where pages are still in development and we’re working on more material, but we’d like you to tell us what we should cover next. Are there methods you use that we’re not covering? Or methods you’ve seen mentioned and you want to find more about? What steps in the evaluation process cause you most difficulties? What else should Public Health England be doing in this space?

All you need to do once you’ve had a look at the guide, is complete our short survey at surveys.phe.org.uk/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=llKL652KL

Alternatively, or if you want to give extra feedback, you can contact the evaluation team directly.  We want to make these guidelines as useful as possible for companies like you, so would really value your input!

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