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John Powell


Senior Clinical Researcher

  • Visiting Professor, Kings College London
  • Honorary Professor, University of Manchester
  • Associate Professor, University of Oxford
  • Consultant Clinical Adviser, NICE
  • Editor-in-Chief, NIHR Health Technology Assessment & EME journals
  • Deputy Programme Director NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme
  • LCRN Specialty Lead, Public Health, and Health Services Research
  • Leading Investigator, CRN Research Recognition Programme 2020
  • Theme Lead, Applied Digital Health, NIHR OxTV ARC

Background and current work

Interview with Andrew Marr on Radio 4 Start The Week:

John Powell is an academic public health physician and health services researcher who has been working in the area of digital health for over 20 years. He combines an academic career at the University of Oxford with a role as Consultant Clinical Adviser at NICE, where he is currently working on the new NICE approach to health apps with the Medical Technology Evaluation Programme. He is an expert adviser to Public Health England and to the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). He also works as a television drama medical advisor where his credits include Downton Abbey, Spanish Flu: The Forgotten Fallen, SSGB and the forthcoming movie Ammonite.

He was formerly Professor of Public Health at the University of Warwick where he led an Ehealth Research Group for 7 years and helped establish the Institute for Digital Healthcare. He has previously been the Clinical Director for NHS Choices ( the NHS website), and the Senior Medical Adviser to during its launch phase in the UK. He is Editor-in-Chief of the NIHR Health Technology Assessment (HTA) and Efficacy & Mechanism Evaluation (EME) journals and co-Editor-in-Chief of the SAGE journal DIGITAL HEALTH and Deputy Programme Director of the NIHR Evidence Synthesis Programme. He is a Research Associate at the Oxford Internet Institute, an Honorary Professor at the University of Manchester and Visiting Professor at Kings College London. He has >£6M in grant funding and H-index of 43.

Professor Powell's work sits on the interface between research, policy and practice. His projects are usually interdisciplinary and collaborative, and are in three main areas: (1) Evaluating the effectiveness of ehealth (digital health) tools - for example: a randomised trial of an internet-based intervention on the NHS website to promote mental wellbeing in the general population; a randomised trial of an internet intervention for cardiac rehabilitation; the development of a serious game intervention for childhood obesity and the development and piloting of a virtual reality tool for the treatment of social phobia. (2) Investigating how a connected health world is changing how patients and the public interact with services and manage their own health - for example: a programme of work investigating online reviews and ratings by patients about their health care; studies examining the sharing of online health experiences in social media; and studies examining how young people with mental health problems, and with chronic physical illness, are engaging with health care in new ways. (3) Investigating how the health service makes decisions - for example a study of how NHS commissioning decisions are made; and an ethnographic study of how NHS Chief Executives make decisions – both with Warwick Business School.

Key publications

Recent publications

More publications