Patients in England value the NHS App, but some users say there are limits to the information they can access, or find it difficult to use, according to a new report from the Digital Coalition.

Patients who need help to use the NHS App would value more support materials to enable them to use it independently, according to the report’s findings. But survey respondents were clear that using the NHS App must remain the patient’s choice, and face-to-face services must be retained.

The report is based on findings from a survey run by The Patient Coalition for AI, Data and Digital Tech in Health (also known as the Digital Coalition). More than 600 people from across England completed the survey.

More than three in four (78%) respondents said they use the NHS App, with four out of five (81%) of this group finding it easy to use and seven out of ten (70%) finding it of value. But more than one third said they would like the ability to access test results (39%) or personal health records (36%) through the NHS App, as they could not currently.

While NHS England aims to make these available to all patients, some GP practices have prevented access to this information. Some patients said the variability of accessing this information was impacting their motivation to use the App.

More than a fifth (23%) of people completing the survey never or rarely use the NHS App for technical reasons, including issues with:

  • Accessing a smartphone
  • Downloading the App
  • Registration
  • Logging in.

Among this group of respondents, or people who said they helped others to use the NHS App, there was a significant lack of skills and confidence in using it. More than one third (36%) of respondents never or rarely used the NHS App because they didn’t want to engage with technology or didn’t see the benefit of using the App and would prefer to speak to a person instead.


The Digital Coalition, based on the survey findings, recommends developers of the NHS App and all those involved in healthcare delivery in the community to:

  • Increase awareness of the NHS App
  • Provide universal access to information via the App
  • Make the App easier to access
  • Reassure people about data security within the App
  • Provide a clear path to find help using the App
  • Provide a clear explanation of the different healthcare apps in use.

NHS England, the developers of the NHS App, are members of the Digital Coalition and conduct ongoing research into how people find using the NHS App.

Since the survey was conducted, NHS England have made several updates to improve the layout of the App and make it easier to use.