NHS Health Check eBulletin

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NHS Health Check e-bulletin - September special edition

Michael Ekpe, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, Public Health England

I recently visited China with Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Duncan Selbie, CEO of Public Health England, to attend the UK-China Health dialogue in Beijing.

The minister and his team were very interested in PHE’s digital transformation. There is real interest in how we are becoming a digital-first organisation, using the latest technology to deliver faster, better and more effective services across public health and local government.

Introducing digital transformation

The minister has already highlighted technology as one of his three priorities and made it clear in a number of speeches that "tech transformation is coming” and “one of the biggest risks is not doing digital transformation”.

For PHE, these priorities are embodied in our eight ‘digital exemplar projects’.  These will solve real public health problems, by putting people and their needs at the heart of our offering. The highly visible exemplar projects also serve as a model for digital excellence and new ways of working across public health.

The NHS Health Checks exemplar is particularly important, as it closely aligns with the Secretary of State’s own priorities around technology and prevention.

Trialling new ways of working

Our approach to the NHS Health Checks exemplar is breaking new ground by combining behavioural insights research with digital service design.

By involving the public as well as commissioners and providers of health checks, our research will ensure that the final digital product(s) meet our users’ needs, both locally and nationally, and improve health outcomes.

This approach will bring the same level of scientific rigour to our digital interventions as we have across our science, intelligence and policy areas.

Working together to support public health

With your support, the backing of Matt Hancock and Duncan Selbie, and our innovative cross-functional project team, I know that the NHS Health Checks exemplar will deliver a real benefit to public health – as well as demonstrating the possibilities digital offers for innovation. For further information please contact: andrea.hewins@phe.gov.uk


OPERATIONAL UPDATE, by Professor Jamie Waterall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention & Associate Deputy Chief Nurse

Jamie Waterall - May 2014

NHS England has now published its priority areas for the NHS Long Term Plan, which includes a new clinical focus on cardiovascular disease (CVD). Given that CVD remains one of the principal causes of premature death and ill health, PHE welcomes this decision. This also provides an important opportunity to challenge the persistent health injustices observed in our country, given that CVD accounts for the largest gap in healthy life expectancy between our least and most affluent communities. To support this work, PHE has established a CVD Prevention System Leadership Forum, which consists of over 30 different organisations, including national and local government, NHS, third sector and professional organisations such as the Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of General Practitioners. The forum is currently developing national ambitions for CVD prevention, which we hope to share early next year. As a world-leading prevention programme, the NHS Health Check will play a critical role in identifying and addressing the key behavioural and physiological risk factors driving the burden of CVD and, more broadly, non-communicable diseases in England. 

During September, we launched our latest version of the online Heart Age Test. The public response was tremendous, with the test being completed in record numbers. More importantly, we have also seen many more people accessing lifestyle information and tools as a result of the campaign. This is a great example of doing things differently and supporting the public to better understand how they can reduce their CVD risk by making important lifestyle changes. This also provides us with a valuable opportunity to promote the NHS Health Check programme and encourage members of the public to take up their offer when invited.

Finally, I would encourage colleagues to submit abstracts for our next CVD Prevention Conference, which will take place on the 14th February at the Old Trafford Football Ground in Manchester. This is a great opportunity to showcase your work via oral or poster presentation, so do submit your brief abstracts prior to the 12th October, when submissions will close. 

Update on NHS Health Check national data extraction

There has been some terrific progress on the data extraction, with the following recent achievements:

  • The data was extracted in summer from three of the four GP IT system suppliers. The fourth is yet to take place, and PHE is working with NHS Digital to follow this up
  • The Data Access Request Service at NHS Digital approved forwarding the data to PHE
  • The data was sent securely to PHE in September
  • PHE has commenced analysis of the data
  • PHE is working conducting further planning of the presentation of findings from the data for 2019.


Annual PHE Conference 2018: Cardiovascular disease prevention session

According to the Interheart study  nine potentially modifiable risk factors account for over 90% of the risk of an initial heart attack. The message is clear; there is a huge opportunity to reduce the burden of disease and health and social care costs attributable to CVD.

The economic case for prevention was explored in the presentations on the awaited CVD return on investment tool, and collaborative working with community partners. Discussion was led by an expert panel with representation from the British Heart Foundation, local government and NHS England. There was a call for de-medicalisation of healthcare involving a shift from clinician-led care with a focus on empowering the general population with knowledge on their own health.

This community mobilisation ethos was seen in action at the Heart Age Test stand which saw over 70 blood pressure measurements and heart age tests completed, including that of Rt Honourable Steve Brine. The heart age test stand generated huge interest and enthusiasm, and even within a public health-related workforce a larger proportion of individuals did not know their blood pressure reading.  The nurses delivering the test were able to have conversations around maintaining and improving lifestyle choices, and signpost individuals to PHE’s digital resources.

For further information please contact: hazel.nyamajiyah@phe.gov.uk



Evaluating the effectiveness of Five Year Forward View CVD Prevention Project

Dr Nayab Nasir, Evidence & Evaluation Lead- Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programme, National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network

The national project has been going on since April 2018 aiming to make a difference to CVD outcomes on a large scale. It aims to deliver on PHE’s commitments as set out in the Next steps on the NHS five year forward view, published in March 2017.

The National Cardiovascular Health Intelligence Network in PHE has strategic responsibility to design and develop a framework for monitoring and evaluation to evaluate the effectiveness of the CVD prevention project. It also advises PHE Centres and Regions on aspects of local monitoring and evaluation.

The process is comprised of three mechanisms; formative assessment, process evaluation and the design and development of Long Term Outcome Indicators.

With the successful completion of formative evaluation, the project is currently undergoing process evaluation stage which will continue throughout the life of the project.

The learning from the early stages of evaluation has helped the PHE centres and the national team to inform improvements and constructive changes in the delivery of the programme across all centres. Simultaneously, the evidence gathered from evaluation is enabling the national and local teams to examine the work closely to aid decision making about future courses of action.

This evaluation of the programme is funded until 31 March 2019.

For further information on the evaluation and monitoring framework please contact nayab.nasir@phe.gov.uk


CVD Prevention Webinar Series:

We continue to run our CVD Prevention Webinar series and you can follow upcoming webinars on our website: https://www.healthcheck.nhs.uk/commissioners_and_providers/events/webinars/

You can also access recordings and presentations of previous webinars via this link. Recent topics have included;

  • July 2018: Commissioning Pharmacy to deliver NHS Health Checks – The West Sussex Experience.

  • April 2018: An oversight of May Measurement Month,the global awareness campaign, surrounding the issues of high blood pressure, led by the International Society of Hypertension. 

  • March 2018: An update on SNOMED CT in Primary Care: Implications for the NHS Health Check.

  • March 2018: Webinar by the East of England and West Midlands - Preventing ill health by risk behaviours CQUIN webinar

  • February 2018: Physical health checks for people with psychosis webinar

If you have any suggestions for future webinars, please email your ideas to: nhshealthchecks.mailbox@phe.gov.uk


NHS Health Check Digital Exemplar

As you know from the previous bulletin, Public Health England’s national digital and CVD prevention teams are working in partnership to explore how digital technology could be used to support the NHS Health Check. We are following an “agile” approach to project management which follows the Government Digital Services (GDS) framework.

The Exemplar is currently in its second phase of “discovery”.  In the first phase earlier in the year the insight focused on the needs on increasing update of the NHS Health Check. Phase two looks at the needs across all stages of the NHS Health Check, from invitation through to managing physiological and behavioural risk factors (including lifestyle behaviour change). They are carrying out primary research with service users, service providers and local authority decision makers to understand these groups’ barriers and motivators in accessing, proving and commissioning an optimal service.  This is being supported by an evidence review.

This insight research and evidence review will then be analysed to build a clear picture of key needs, it is expected that discovery will be complete in early December and there will be a webinar where you can listen to the findings. The project will then go into alpha where we will co-create with stakeholders potential solutions.

If you have any digital products that support the delivery of the NHS Health Check, or have any developments underway, that we should be taking into account in alpha then please do let us know, by contacting nhshealthcheck@phe.gov.uk

CVD prevention conference 2019, saving hearts and minds together

The 2019 CVD Prevention Conference will be held on Thursday 14th February at the Old Trafford Stadium in Manchester.

A call for abstracts is now open, and will close at midnight on Friday 12th October 2018. To find out more about the process and to submit an abstract for an oral presentation and/or poster, click here.

Ticket booking will open at the end of November 2018. In the meantime, to find out more information, please visit the conference website.

We are also looking for exhibitors to showcase their work and products in our marketplace. If you are interested and would like more information, please get in contact at nhshealthchecks.mailbox@phe.gov.uk

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