Top 5 actions from the new NICE guidelines

In the recently published NICE Guideline ‘Behaviour change: digital and mobile health interventions’, the committee recommend the use of digital and mobile health interventions to change unhealthy behaviours such as smoking, high alcohol consumption, unhealthy diet, sedentary behaviour, and unsafe sex. But most importantly, NICE provides advice on how you can use evidence to improve care and services in this growing area.

We’ve summarised the 5 most significant points from this helpful and practical tool for anyone developing, commissioning, or using digital health, and explain below how ORCHA can help.

  1. Evidence: If you are developing or commissioning an app, refer to the NICE evidence Standards Framework for digital technologies. This is an important standard and just one of the 350 relevant standards and measures that ORCHA checks for in its app review process.
  2. Embed: The committee advise that digital interventions should be considered as part of an overall approach to behaviour change and be part of existing strategies of behaviour change rather than as a standalone approach. ORCHA’s implementation team have been embedding apps into practice since 2015 and know how professionals can include apps before, during and after behaviour change programmes. Take a look at our impact as part of diabetes programmes.
  3. Target: It was identified that digital interventions are particularly beneficial for people who cannot or will not be able to attend weekly face-to-face services. It highlights that some people may find it difficult to attend regular face-to-face support because of work or may want to avoid perceived or actual stigma they experience when accessing services. In addition, people who are shielding during the COVID-19 pandemic may benefit from using digital and mobile interventions as it allows them to access a remote service during social distancing. With our experience of providing health app libraries to NHS organisations in 50% of regions, our insight enables you to spot cohorts who need to uptake or already engage with digital health. Our recent COVID-19 digital health report is a good place to start.
  4. Personalise: Discuss the use of a digital or mobile health intervention with the person, understanding their digital, health and reading literacy. Also consider a person’s age, data security, pricing and platform preferences. ORCHA’s app libraries have been designed with this in mind. You can search for apps using filters such as price and age; our app cards provide data security and usability detail that help further inform your app choice.
  5. Reference sites: The committee recommends using reputable sources when choosing digital and mobile health interventions but recognises that digital technology moves quickly, which can make it difficult for those evaluating a specific digital or mobile health intervention to be completed in a timely manner. That’s why ORCHA re-reviews any app that has been updated and updates its own review criteria every year.


The NICE Guidelines provide a fantastic resource, featuring evidence review reports, practical steps to develop or commission digital health, plus a baseline assessment tool.


If you would like to understand how you can apply the NICE guidelines to your digital health programme and safely unlock the power of digital health, please get in touch.