Public Health England puts up £2m to explore ‘novel ways’ to use digital

Government agency kicks off two-year project to explore potential ‘digital interventions’

Public Health England (PHE) has launched a £2m proof-of-concept exercise as part of its ongoing investigation of “novel ways to improve the public’s health and well-being through digital interventions”.

A contract notice issued this week via the Digital Marketplace is seeking suppliers that could support an early-stage testing programme for one or more of the digital services and tools PHE is currently exploring. 

“New digital technologies are emerging in the health and well-being space that may deliver health benefits to citizens,” PHE said. “The effectiveness of these types of intervention needs to be assessed. Thus, a rapid but effective proof-of-concept approach must be developed and potentially implemented with one or more interventions.”

PHE has conducted a discovery phase for this project and is looking to move into alpha around the end of next month.


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This phase will culminate around the mid-point of 2019 with the completion of the proof-of-concept exercise. If the project then progresses into beta and live phases, it could last up to two years and receive funding of as much as £2.5m.

Public Health England, an executive agency of the Department of Health and Social Care, is in the process of “building a team of national and regional experts in a number of areas such as health economics and behavioural science”. 

These people will support a core delivery team and the chosen suppliers. Work will take place across the country, and the winning bidders will be expected to regularly work on-site at PHE offices in Manchester, London, and other locations.

Suppliers must have recent experience of undertaking proof-of-concept exercises, as well as using mobile apps to enable healthier lifestyles, and delivering “digital intervention projects” alongside commercial or public health providers.

Bids are open until 6 November, after which up to five suppliers are expected to be evaluated. 

Sam Trendall

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