Soho Strategy was approached in January 2016 with a vision to get more young people interacting with NHS services, and to improve health-outcomes for under-25s. Commissioned by NHS England (London Region) and the Healthy London Partnership, NHS Go was the award-winning, flagship result.
SOHO designed and developed youth-focused iOS and Android apps in-house from the ground-up; created the name, logo, and brand; and engaged in an algorithmically-optimised install campaign to drive downloads and usage of the app across the region. The approach won plaudits and awards, including Winner of the Patient Experience Network Award for Championing the Public, and was subsequently endorsed by institutions such as Great Ormond Street Hospital, the world’s leading children’s hospital.
Content in the NHS Go apps is primarily sourced from the NHS Choices health information database, and has been specifically curated by medical professionals in a bid to make it more youth-friendly, and specific. To deliver a highly-responsive app, SOHO developed a repurposable middleware server and API to cache, crunch and combine a range of further data-sources in addition. An easily-updatable, maintainable app is the result.
Data from across NHS products was brought together, sometimes for the first time, and normalised in an open-format; thousands of pieces of health information have been categorised and culled into a data structure more readily understood and easily useful to young people than the raw data feed of NHS Choices; and the results have been clear.
NHS Go has been downloaded more than 75,000 times to date, and has cut across youth demographics to reach a range of traditionally hard-to-access young people. To achieve this, SOHO multi-variate tested ads across Facebook, Instagram, Google AdWords, Twitter, Apple App Store Search, and Snapchat. Through SOHO’s process of ongoing optimisation cost-per-installs were reduced to as little as <40-pence. Significant attention was also received from the British YouTuber community, with a range of influencers creating NHS Go-branded content and promoting the app to their audiences across social media.
Engagement with the app is high, with average session-lengths of 5+ minutes and 12 screen-views per session. And whilst individual usage-data from the app is anonymised, the range of insights collected from users’ aggregate usage of the app has enabled multiple core areas of particular concerns of young people, not previously appreciated, to be identified and addressed through follow-up communications and campaigns.
After a highly successful build, launch, and first-year, SOHO’s contract to grow, maintain, and further develop the app was extended for a multi-year ongoing period. In 2019, SOHO began to ship NHS Go Local, a backend content management system that enables clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) across the country to personalise signposting, features and other in-app functionality to young people in their areas, based on known local needs.
The National Health Service (NHS) is responsible for public health services throughout the United Kingdom. With an annual budget of £136bn+ and over 1.5 million employees, it is one of the world’s largest organisations, and one of five biggest employers on the planet. Its brief is huge: the NHS in England alone deals with over 1 million patients per day, and the organisation caters to 65 million citizens all-in-all.