Background and Aims

Smart Health Communities (SHC) is a concept that was developed through a series of interviews with leaders of prevention and well-being initiatives led by The Deloitte Centre for Health Solutions and the Deloitte Centre for Government Insights.  SHCs have a focus on disease prevention through the use of data surveillance and concepts of behavioural science, helping to change health risk behaviours which ultimately lead to poorer health outcomes (e.g. smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise). 


These communities also aim to address health inequalities faced by people with mental illness, with these individuals being at higher risk of chronic health conditions (e.g. obesity, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol and diabetes).  These individuals are also at a significantly higher risk of being affected by COVID-19, further increasing their risk of mortality.  General psychological wellbeing can also be improved through increased social interconnectivity, helping reduce anxiety and improving happiness. SHCs are enabled by digital technology and behavioural science.

This concept helps answer the call towards virtual means of care as digital tools and resources are accessible to all through the use of smart phones, including those from low income communities.  Communities can also extend to include face-to-face contact.

Outcomes and Benefits

The main outcomes of SHCs are:

  • Proactive health and well-being management
  • Foster a sense of community and belonging
  • Meaningfully use of data to improve outcomes
  • New and innovative health and wellbeing ecosystems

Additional Information

You can find out more about Smart Health Communities on the Deloitte article page.

Example of an SHC:

  • Weight Watchers International – This is an example of a virtual SHC which is accessible to all.  It focuses on weight loss, health and wellness.  The SHC encourages and empowers people to eat healthy via mobile app and users can receive support/personalised information.

Innovations using the SHC concept:

  • Imperial College London  – This innovation uses DNA to consider a person's predisposition to developing chronic health conditions and ‘nudges’ people towards making healthier choices. You can find out more by accessing the DNA Nudge website.
  • There is more information about further innovations published on the Imperial College London webpage.  

The aim of the ZSA Case Studies is to introduce users to a range of examples of new and innovative practice, with the broad aim of working to support people with their mental health, bring awareness to and help prevent incidence of suicide. Please seek further information by contacting the ZSA and appropriate professional input prior to making a decision over its use.

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Content last updated: 08/03/2021

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