The Times’ medical correspondent, Dr Mark Porter, writes that many doctors discourage patients from using search engines to look up medical conditions, preferring instead to recommend sites that can be trusted.
Placed fourth in his list of eight favourites, behind NHS Choices, Heart Risk app JBS3 and Cancer Research UK, healthtalk.org is a charity-run website that provides health information developed from qualitative research by the Health Experience Research Group (HERG) in Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences.
The website provides free, reliable information about health issues by sharing people’s real-life experiences through video. Included in the growing library of 85 health subjects are personal perspectives on cancer, autism, motor-neurone disease, pregnancy, drugs and depression.
To compile the website’s 25,000 clips, people from across the UK are interviewed by HERG researchers, using qualitative research methods to capture the full range of experiences associated with each health condition, such as how to talk to friends and family, emotional wellbeing, and how an illness can impact on work or education.
Sue Ziebland, Professor of Medical Sociology and Director of HERG in the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences, commented:
"Through healthtalk.org we work on the principle that by sharing health problems we can help people, their friends and their families to really understand what it’s like to have and live with a health condition, such as breast cancer or arthritis.
“We’ve worked with thousands of people to portray the real-life experiences of a wide range of illnesses on film, based on qualitative social science research, and made them freely available to anyone. It’s not just for the public, Healthtalk.org is also a great resource for health professionals and we see it used in medical schools as part of their own professional training."
Healthtalk.org has previously been listed in The Times top 50 ‘Websites You Can’t Live Without’ and ranked second in their top 5 health websites.
Find out more www.healthtalk.org