Patient experience pioneer dies

Image: Dr Ann McPherson

Tributes have been paid to the founder of healthtalkonline, Dr Ann McPherson, who died from pancreatic cancer at the weekend.

The healthtalkonline and youthhealthtalk websites feature real life health stories and personal experiences of health.

They were the brainchild of Oxford GP Dr McPherson, who had the idea after she was diagnosed with breast cancer 15 years ago.

Dr McPherson founded the charity DIPEx as a patient experience website in 2001, several years before sites such as NHS Choices and were created.

In 2008, the healthtalkonline and youthtalkonline replaced the site, although both continue to be run by the DIPEx charity.

Last month, it announced that a new online tool had been added to the website about shared decision making between doctors and patients.

Dr McPherson was named Healthcare Communicator of the Year by the BMJ last month for her work in setting up the patient experience websites.

They now cover more than 60 illnesses and include more than 2,000 interviews collected by the Health Experiences Research Group at Oxford University.

Actor Hugh Grant was patron of the DIPEx charity and this week described the GP as “amazing”.

He told the BBC: “Ann was an amazing woman – doctor, author, campaigner and founder of the inspired healthtalkonline. I am so delighted that she nagged me into helping with it and I’m so sorry for her family, for medicine and for the country that she has gone.”

Dr McPherson was also the co-author of the Teenage Health Freak book series which sold more than a million copies. With co-author Dr Aidan Macfarlane, she ran a virtual online surgery for young people.

In the last two years Dr McPherson had also championed assisted dying and became a patron of Dignity for Dying and the founder of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying.

Last updated: 31 May 2011 17:32

healthtalkonline is great

timbenson256 weeks ago

healthtalkonline is a superb resource. On limited experience, I have found it the most patient-friendly and usefully informative of all the medical web sites I have used - bar none.





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