DIPEx Charity

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DIPEx (Database of Individual Patient Experiences) is an Oxford, England-based health charity[1] that works closely with the Health Experiences Research Group at University of Oxford to disseminate research into personal experiences of health and illness. The charity publishes two websites called Healthtalkonline[2] and Youthhealthtalk.[3] The websites feature clips of people talking about their experiences of living with a range of health conditions and are aimed at patients, their carers, family and friends, doctors, nurses and other health professionals.


DIPEx was established in 2001 by GP Dr Ann McPherson CBE and clinical pharmacologist Andrew Herxheimer after their own experiences of illness. Ann had been diagnosed with breast cancer and although she knew all the medical information, couldn't find anyone else to talk to about the personal and emotional side of having the disease. This, and Herxheimer's experience of knee replacement surgery, prompted them to come up with the idea of a patient experience website. A small group of people from various backgrounds were asked to join a Steering Group and after many meetings around McPherson's kitchen table, the idea came into being with the help of Lion New Media (part of Lion Television).[4]


The interviews featured on the websites are carried out by Oxford's Health Experiences Research Group through in-depth qualitative research into over 70 different illnesses and health conditions. The research group was rated the highest performing primary care department in the country in the last research assessment exercise.

Awards and accreditation[edit]

DIPEx has won six "Commended"s and two "Highly Commended"s from the British Medical Association Patient Information Awards between 2004 and 2009. In 2009 they won "Third Sector Organisation of The Year" from the HealthInvestor Awards. DIPEx has been rated among the top ten online health resources by The Guardian Newspaper in 2004 and one of five health websites included in The Times newspaper's 'Top 50 websites you can't live without' in 2013.[5] Both Youthhealthtalk and Healthtalkonline are approved by the Department of Health's Information Standard scheme.[6] In May 2011, McPherson won the British Medical Journal's Health Communicator of the Year Award.[7][8]


Patrons of the charity include Jon Snow, Hugh Grant, Professor Sir David Weatherall and Lord Turnberg. Several well-known figures have supported the charity or contributed video introductions for the websites including Philip Pullman, Clive Anderson, Thom Yorke, Melvyn Bragg, Dawn French and Michael Palin.[9]


  1. ^ Charity Commission. DIPEX, registered charity no. 1087019. 
  2. ^ "Healthtalkonline". Healthtalkonline. 
  3. ^ "Youthhealthtalk". Youthhealthtalk. 
  4. ^ "About Us". Healthtalkonline. 
  5. ^ The Times Newspaper. "Top 50 websites you can't live without". The Times. Retrieved 6 March 2013. 
  6. ^ "The Information Standard Members". The Information Standard. Archived from the original on 14 January 2011. 
  7. ^ "Health Communicator of the Year". British Medical Journal. n.d. Retrieved 7 June 2011. 
  8. ^ "Hugh Grant accepts the ... award ...", healthtalkonline.org, 19 May 2011. Retrieved 2012-02-13.
  9. ^ "Healthtalkonline Credits". Healthtalkonline. Archived from the original on 7 March 2011.