MSc Occupational Hygiene / Course details

Year of entry: 2024

Course unit details:
Digital Public Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH65022
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Available as a free choice unit? No


As public health professionals, it is important to understand the implications of digital innovation for public health and people’s everyday lives, including health and wellbeing. Digital technology is rapidly changing the way people live, interact, learn, and work. This offers new opportunities for health professionals to interact with and engage people, and digital tools offer new ways to gather and analyse data and subsequently improve public health. It also entails challenges, e.g. relating to data protection, and the digital divide. It is crucial that public health professionals and researchers are aware of the implications these rapid developments have for public health provision models, data, governance, partnership and engagement. The course unit also offers opportunity for students to develop transferable skills such as critical appraisal and evidence synthesis. The unit is relevant internationally and uses international examples and case studies to demonstrate concepts and application in a range of different settings.

This is an interactive online course. Students must work through the online course material. Students are encouraged to use the Blackboard discussion boards to ask questions and check their understanding of the course material.


  • To synthesise the impacts of digital technologies and tools on, and implications for health
  • To provide an introduction to digital public health and the policies and actions taken around the world to integrate technology into public health efforts, both in terms of research and practice
  • To develop an understanding of digital health interventions and digital data collection and analysis tools which will allow public health professionals to create policies and practices and design and deliver appropriate services for the setting in which they work

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, successful course members will be able to:

  • Analyse the implications of digital technologies for public health across a range of contexts and settings
  • Investigate how data collection and analysis tools can be incorporated into research and practice
  • Analyse digital health research, policies and interventions and evaluate their impact on health
  • Critically appraise the opportunities and challenges involved in incorporating digital tools into public health research and practice
  • Apply relevant frameworks and methodologies to develop and evaluate digital health interventions


  • Introduction to digital public health, digital policies and relevant key concepts e.g. Internet/Web, social media, apps, Internet of Things, cybersecurity, digital divide
  • Overview of digital data collection and analysis tools: Mobile phone surveys, wearables, sensors, other devices, discussion of data reliability/ validity /integrity/ accuracy/ timeliness/security and challenges (e.g. data security); introduction of case studies of digital collection tools used in UK and other global locations;
  • Medical Internet of Things, Connected Systems and Big Data in Healthcare: Definition of key terms (IoT, Connected Systems, Big Data); examples of their uses in health (e.g. healthcare monitoring and control, pervasive healthcare, drug interaction checking); discussion of future trends and directions in this field; cybersecurity and data protection
  • Use of digital technology in healthcare delivery and health surveillance: Examples and case studies of how technology is currently used in healthcare delivery (e.g. digital dashboards, electronic health records, digital appointment scheduling, diagnostic tools)
  • Digital health interventions: Overview of digital health interventions, case studies and examples of their use in health promotion and disease management; approaches and frameworks for developing digital health interventions; discussion of advantages and challenges and different evaluation methods

Teaching and learning methods

This online course unit will include text provided by the tutors and required and additional reading of articles, policies and media publications. It will include reflective study tasks, and topic-based discussions hosted on Blackboard. A final graded, summative, written assignment will be set. Material provided will be diverse in nature, and include peer-reviewed publications (accessed through the University library), and key publications from international research and conferences. Media articles and videos will also be included to demonstrate the implications and impacts of digital innovation in the context of health. Digital health specialists will be invited for recorded interviews, allowing students to obtain insights from experts in the field. Throughout the unit, all participants are encouraged to link the course materials to their experiences in every day practice. All students will receive written feedback following the final summative assignment.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will critically analyse how digital innovations can impact on healthcare delivery, health promotion, and disease management.
Group/team working
Students will discuss and analyse course material in online discussion forums.
Project management
Students will need to demonstrate understanding of project management skills in their choice of approach to the assignments and use planning techniques to ensure their completion.

Assessment methods

Individual assignment worth 100% of marks - 2500 words or equivalent. 

Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their individual summative assignment (2,500-3,000 words if essay or equivalent) within 20 working days.

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit.

Recommended reading

This topic needs to reflect on the newest findings and needs to remain at the cutting edge of research and innovation; therefore recently published peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, and grey literature will form the majority of required reading.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Catherine Lewis Unit coordinator
John Owen Unit coordinator

Additional notes

For further information please watch this video about the Digital Public Health course unit. 

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact Cath Lewis via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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