NIHR and Oxford University: Designing a web app to help general practitioners

We worked with NIHR and Oxford University to design a web app to help doctors make better informed, evidence-based treatment decisions

3 minute read

Julian Treadwell, an NIHR doctoral research fellow at Oxford University, is developing a novel clinical information application called GP Evidence.

The app is meant for general practitioners (GPs) in the UK. It aims to help them make informed, evidence-based decisions. This is especially important when they are prescribing for patients with complex long-term conditions that need diverse treatments.

Dr Treadwell had built a rough prototype himself, and he wanted to develop it into a working platform over the course of his research. He intended to work with fellow GPs and use their insight to improve the design. He needed to understand attitudes, behaviours and likely interactions with the decision-making tool.

What we did

  • Support user research 
  • Creative design 
  • Prototype development in Adobe XD 
  • Preparation and conduct of co-design workshop 
  • Contribution of UX knowledge and design/development skills to the evolving design during the workshop 
  • WordPress development of the skeleton web app  
  • Support to the definition of hosting requirements for the final app 

How we did it

We guided Dr Treadwell through the user research process. In doing this, we reviewed his plans and scripts for interviews with stakeholders and potential users, and we gave feedback that enabled him to improve his process.

Next we used his early design concepts, along with insights from his interviews, to design and build a clickable prototype.

Then we led a one-day co-design workshop for Dr Treadwell and several GPs. This provided a collaborative, congenial environment for exploring the prototype. We used feedback and ideas from participants to change the prototype during the workshop. For changes we were unable to make right then, we noted ideas that would need further development.

After the workshop, we discussed with Dr Treadwell some possible platforms for hosting the app. We decided that WordPress offered the best balance between functional capabilities and ease of use. We also discussed the feasibility of implementing the various workshop-generated ideas in WordPress. We built several of the capabilities using WordPress plug-ins, to allow Dr Treadwell to add his content easily into a functionally rich website.

What we achieved together

We built a working framework for the app in WordPress. This enabled Dr Treadwell to migrate this to his own hosting platform and to add content as it became ready. 

Elizabeth and Ben were fantastic: wise and flexible guidance, expertise and dazzling technical skills. I think we have come up with something special. It was fascinating to see how apparently small incremental changes and suggestions made a huge impact, plus a couple of totally unexpected brilliant things came up (the greyed out Cates plots to gently force risk input — genius!) Amazing seeing co-design in action.

Julian Treadwell, Principal Investigator, GP Evidence

The impact we made

GP Evidence will help doctors to give their patients more personalised care. It does this by enabling GPs to tailor their assessments to individual patients and helping them to understand the benefits and harms of each treatment they are considering.

GP Evidence aligns fully with the aims of NHS England’s Personalised Care Initiative, because it provides care that is “based on ‘what matters’ to people and their individual strengths and needs”. GP Evidence helps give people in England “the same choice and control over their mental and physical health that they have come to expect in every other aspect of their life”.



Headshot of Hilary Stephenson

Get in touch

Please email if you would like to work with our team on your project, or call our Macclesfield office on +44 (0)1625 427718