Improving young people's health literacy with an NHS App: a qualitative evaluation

Emma Russell, Joanna Yarker, Ally Memon

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


PURPOSE: Young-people are increasingly using apps and the internet to source information about health. However, the range of online sources available are inconsistent in their reliability and trustworthiness, and young-people are not always able to translate advice and information into improved health behaviors (health literacy). In this study, we evaluated whether a new clinically approved NHS health app for young-people can improve health literacy.
DESIGN: Semi-structured interviews and focus-groups were conducted with 26 young-people in the target age and demographic ranges. The technology acceptance model (TAM) was used to frame the research. RESULTS: Using thematic analysis, young-people reported that across 4 subthemes, the app had good ‘perceived usefulness’ and was credible and trustworthy. This positively influenced uptake, although social influences were under-developed in influencing acceptance. The app lacked ‘perceived ease of use’ across three themes, which limited the impact on health literacy and improved health behaviors.
LIMITATIONS: Turnout at the focus groups was low, suggesting sample confounds for motivation.
IMPLICATIONS: Empowering young-people to take control of their health literacy is a key concern for health service providers (such as the NHS) who need to provide cost-effective ways of addressing emerging health needs. Our research indicates how future health apps can be designed to optimize this.
ORIGINALITY/VALUE: This is the first qualitative study to demonstrate how a general, free health app can be actively adopted by young people to optimize health literacy.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - 2019
Externally publishedYes
Event19th Congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology: Working for the greater good - Turin, Italy
Duration: 29 May 20191 Jun 2019
Conference number: 19


Conference19th Congress of the European Association of Work and Organizational Psychology
Abbreviated titleEAWOP
Internet address


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