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Sunday, 18 September 2011

Information on health and disease from the patient's perspective

@HealthMed Where can patients and their family, friends and carers go for advice from the patient's perspective about  health-related conditions? And how can health professionals gain insight into patients' perspectives on their health or illnesses. Individual disease-focused charities and patient associations are ever better at providing patient friendly advice.
A further excellent web resource is Health Talk Online, with over 60 serious and common diseases represented, based on the experience of over 2000 patients. Conditions and issues covered range from heart risk and disease to cancer and women's health. This resource was established by the Charity DIPEx, in collaboration with health scientists from the University of Oxford (the Health Experiences Research Group), and is coupled to the website Youth Health Talk, which is about 'young people's real life experiences of health and lifestyle'. Health Talk Online aims to use the real life experience of people to discuss health, health-related conditions and illnesses, including insight into tests and therapies (and their possible adverse effects), what outcomes to expect from treatment with drugs and/or devices, news, and updates on progress in medical research, patients' viewpoints about the impact on their life of the health conditions of interest,  and discussion forums.
It is vital that information sources such as this are reliable. With that in mind it is noteworthy that the charity DIPEx has been selected by the UK's Department of Health to help to pilot an accreditation scheme  using 'kite marking' to indicate reliability of organisations that provide information about health and social care.

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