During the alpha we focussed on type 2 diabetes and mild to moderate anxiety and depression (MMAD).

Over the next 12 weeks we’ll expand our content to cover:

  • short-term conditions where self treatment is the best first option, e.g. warts, fungal nail infections
  • short-term conditions where you need to see your GP, e.g. shingles
  • accessing a particular service, e.g. getting physiotherapy
  • another long-term condition

The overall aim is to have more content with more links to services by the end of week 12.

You’ll see more content appear on alpha.nhs.uk over the coming weeks.

We also want to do some discovery into getting someone to the right information if they don’t know what’s wrong with them (for example: I’ve got a stomach ache, what could it be and what should I do about it?).

How we choose conditions

We look at the most visited conditions on NHS Choices and the work the NHS Choices transformation team did earlier this year.

We also discuss which conditions to cover with Marcus Baw, the GP in our team.

Marcus can give us real-life insights as to why people come and see their GP and which appointments could be avoided with better upfront information.

What we want to test over the next 12 weeks

We want to answer four main questions:

  1. Does the content framework we developed during the alpha hold up?

Our current content framework is based on a number of overarching user needs (epics). These came out of the work we did on the two long-term conditions.

We now want to test if we can apply this way of structuring information to short-term conditions. Where the framework doesn’t hold up we’ll add new epics or make changes.

  1. What does action focussed content mean for simpler conditions?

We want to learn more about how we can encourage users to self care where it’s the best option.

We’ll experiment with different messaging around when to see your GP and when to treat yourself at home.

We’re also looking at taking users through more of a ‘do this first, if that doesn’t work try this’ approach rather than just listing out all the treatment options and leaving it up to the user to decide what to do next.

  1. How can we make the information a step in the patient’s journey?

We don’t want to create pages that users just consume and then go away without doing anything. We want them to act on what they’ve learned.

Users told us they wanted more autonomy and to do things themselves. This means a content page should be a step in the user’s journey to getting care. It’s part of the whole service.

Over the next 12 weeks we’re looking at the best ways of turning pages into steps.

We can do this by making the information easily scannable, practical and by relating it to users’ real lives. But we also need to relate the information to what’s going on in the real world of healthcare professionals.

  1. How much more do users want to know?

We’ll experiment with with second-tier content and links to further information that focusses on medical detail, causes of a condition etc.

We want to find out if users have an appetite for this kind of information beyond the practical advice we give them and, if so, why and what it is they’re looking for.

User needs and testing are still a thing

All content will still be based on user needs. But we won’t have time to do detailed user research into every condition we cover.

We’ll identify user needs for simpler conditions through desk research. As we go along we’ll decide where other forms of user research are needed, for example where we cover more complex or multiple conditions.

We’ll also continue to put what we’ve produced in front of users, get their insights and iterate it until it works for them.

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