Digital and mobile health interventions, such as apps, online programmes, websites, text messages and wearable devices, are widely used. Using these technologies may help people change their behaviour, which in turn, can help improve their health.

Addressing health-related behaviours such as those relating to physical activity, smoking and alcohol intake can help reduce the risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory conditions, cancer and liver disease. Digital and mobile interventions may also help people to self-manage, self-monitor or improve these behaviours and improve their mental, social and emotional wellbeing.

This guideline covers everyone, including children and young people (and their families or carers), who would benefit from changing current unhealthy behaviours. It includes interventions that are delivered by the technology and do not need input from healthcare professionals.

Digital and mobile technology is a fast-moving field, so the guideline did not look at specific digital and mobile health interventions, as these may change or are likely to be updated and superseded. Instead, it assesses the components and characteristics of interventions.

The guideline also doesn't cover people who have already changed their behaviours and want to maintain the change.

This guideline was developed before the COVID-19 pandemic. It is uncertain how practice and consultations will be carried out after the pandemic has ended but it may result in more people using remote consultations. We have highlighted likely impacts on the guideline in the rationale sections, but we have not changed any recommendations as a result of the pandemic or its possible effects on future practice.

The behaviours included in this guideline align with those in NICE's guideline on behaviour change: individual approaches.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)