In response to the publication of the NICE guideline on digital and mobile interventions for health behaviours, PAGB Executive Director of Policy and Communications, Donna Castle, said:
“We welcome efforts to improve the accessibility and quality of health information available via digital and mobile platforms.
“This includes the type of intervention covered by the new NICE guideline, which is aimed at helping people who want to change their long-term health-related behaviours – for example, around smoking or alcohol consumption.
“However, we would urge policymakers to go further in harnessing the power of digital information and technology to support self care more broadly.
“Every year, millions of people make GP appointments and visit A&E for advice about health problems which they could have treated themselves.
“Easier access to reliable online information about self care and over-the-counter remedies would help to improve people’s knowledge and confidence when they are weighing up their options for dealing with minor ailments.
“That’s why we would like to see the following developments, as recommended in our report ‘Self Care and Technology’:
• NHS England should develop a self care section in the NHS app and on the NHS website which includes fact sheets and videos to improve people’s understanding of self care;
• NHSX should explore how existing apps and wearables could support greater self care, encourage the use of pharmacies and help manage demand on local GPs;
• NHSX should address barriers to the development of apps and wearables which safely promote self care.
“Supporting behaviour change is an important part of encouraging self care, which is vital in ensuring that NHS resources are used in the most effective and efficient way.”