Type of site
|Medicine and Health|
|Owner||Egton Medical Information Systems|
|Launched||22 April 1997|
|Current status||Active (18 million unique users per month as of 2015)|
Patient is an online resource providing information on health, lifestyle, disease and other medical related topics. The website's aim is to provide members of the public with up-to-date information on health related topics in the form of comprehensive leaflets (which can be read online or printed), blogs, wellbeing advice and videos. Leaflets are compiled by qualified medical practitioners with several years of experience in the medical profession. In 2013, the site appeared in a "Top 50 websites" feature published in The Times.
'Patient UK' was first launched in 1996 as a directory of UK websites providing health related information, and was originally operated by Patient information Publications (PiP), a company established by two medical professionals Dr Tim Kenny and his wife, Dr Beverley Kenny.
Further development occurred when Tim met Dr Gordon Brooks of Egton Medical Information Systems (EMIS) who had been working with various authors and suppliers, such as Oxford University Press, to create a comprehensive regularly updated electronic medical reference for General Practice called ‘Mentor’. Gordon invited the Kennys to add condition information leaflets to Mentor so these could be printed out for patients during GP consultations.
In January 1998, OUP published the newly accumulated patient materials written by PiP with software developed by EMIS as the stand-alone ‘Oxford PILs’ for use by non-EMIS practices. The software was designed to connected with OUP’s version of Mentor.
The relationship between PiP and EMIS grew with Tim eventually overseeing work of a group of medical authors maintaining patient focused materials, coordinating with others writing articles for medical staff based on common background research. The result was the development of an extremely powerful and effective high quality support system for medical staff and their patients which EMIS delivered into all practices using its Electronic health record systems, suitably indexed for rapid access in and around medical consultations.
Mentor proved extremely popular with practices and patients alike and the next logical step was taken in December 2002 when EMIS and PiP decided to include all suitable regularly updated information about health and disease in a completely reworked evolution of the Patient UK website. This was done so the reputable and reliable content (later accredited by the NHS) could be accessed by all members of the public who needed support, free of charge.
In April 2008, EMIS acquired PIP's share of Patient, but the company's partners remain involved as consultant editors and lead authors. EMIS continued to integrate the content with its Electronic health record systems so that patients accessing their own records can go directly to advice and information about their condition.
In February 2012, after Gordon retired, the Patient UK site underwent a relaunch and re-brand; most notably a mobile approach and a close connection with Dr Sarah Jarvis as the site's Clinical Consultant, blogging for and appearing on behalf of the site.
As of January 2013, the site contains a wide range of health information tools including 4,000 health information leaflets, a wellbeing centre, a free health check, and thousands of discussion forums. It is accredited by The Information Standard, NHS England’s quality mark and was listed as ‘The top health website you can’t live without’ by The Times newspaper.
In September 2013, Patient launched its local service, enabling professionals and patients to access health information in their local area as well as heat maps delineating popular search terms in the locality. It was launched with the intention that the service could help alert CCGs and individual GP surgeries to potential localised health outbreaks that could impact on surgery enquiries. Plans are also in development for the 'trends box' feature to be made available for GPs to host on their own surgery websites as an additional patient information service.
Patient contains health-related information produced by a team of doctors. Users can register with the site, allowing them to book appointments with their own GP and order repeat prescriptions. However, this is only possible if the user's surgery uses EMIS computer software, although the system is used by most practices. Information on Patient is updated to keep abreast of the latest medical evidence, with each leaflet reviewed every two years or earlier when necessary (whichever comes first).
Writing in the Oxford Journal of Occupational Medicine on the subject of educating his patients about health matters, physician Andrew Mounstephen says of Patient; "[...] I have found a great help in performing this education and information providing role. The Daily Telegraph has described Patient as a "gateway to some of the most reliable online health resources", while The Good Web Guide calls the site "well-designed and clear". A Times article from 2007 describes the information on Patient as "simple and easily accessible" and produced by doctor.
In early 2012 alongside the site rebrand, Patient moved into the mobile market - producing several apps designed to allow the public to access health information on mobile devices. The first app to be released was named after the site and contained information on medical conditions also available on the website as well as the ability to search for medical services near you such as pharmacists and GP surgeries using GPS. The app was met some high acclaim from medical professionals, with one reviewer saying "It is the first app I have ever considered “prescribing” to a patient in a consultation"
Since this, Patient has released an additional nine apps addressing various different aspects of healthcare.
Patient claims to have won several awards for its content over several years from different award bodies.
- Which Joint Top Health Website - November 2010
- BMA Highly Commended Resource Award - BMA Patient Information Awards 2012
- The Times Top Health Website - January 2013
- Website of the Year Awards 2014 Best Health Website - November 2014
- Medilink Yorkshire and Humber Healthcare Business Awards 2013 Harrison Goddard Innovation Award for Patient Access app - March 2014
- Lewy, Ruth (25 January 2013). "50 top websites you can't live without". The Times. (Subscription required (. ))
- Henderson, Roger (27 May 2007). "Webwise: Click once and say aaah". Times Online. News International. Retrieved 12 April 2010. (Subscription required (. ))
- "About Us: Authoring, Advertising and Funding". Patient. Egton Medical Information Systems. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- Mounstephen, Andrew (2007). "Patient Website". Oxford Journal of Occupational Medicine. Oxford University Press. 57 (4): 298. doi:10.1093/occmed/kqm018. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- O'Connell, John (15 May 2006). "Leave us cyberchondriacs alone!". Daily Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. Retrieved 12 April 2010.
- "Patient". The Good Web Guide. Retrieved 22 April 2010.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-23. Retrieved 2014-03-26.