Co-designing citizen services to inform and protect the population of Northern Ireland

Department of Health

Problem

As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread across the world, the pressure began to mount on GPs and emergency services. We were engaged by Health & Social Care in Northern Ireland to co-design a citizen-centred solution that would help ease that pressure on our services and provide the Northern Irish public with the most accurate and personalised information relating to the virus.

Approach

Working within the tightest imaginable time-frame we worked with a large group of experts and stakeholders to outline an initial solution. We explored best practice examples, mapped an end-to-end user journey and gathered data from in-depth user interviews. Working in partnership with Civica, we launched the mobile service in two weeks. Following a period of live testing, we have continued to support the successive release of new versions to enhance and personalise the service throughout the pandemic.

Outcome

Within a month from launch, the COVIDCare NI service was downloaded 50,000 times. This translated to a significant reduction of calls from concerned citizens to the 111 service. The app continues to evolve with the addition of expert content, self-isolation timer and a more personal experience. We have also developed a companion website to deliver the latest advice and allow users to check their symptoms without needing to download the app.

Working with a committed design team, helped move ideas to delivery, in partnership with the developers, at a lightning pace. The product was something we can all be proud of and certainly had an impact.

Dr E.G.J. O'Neill, Consultant Medical Adviser

Digital Health & Care NI, Health & Social Care Board

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