healthtalk.org has been honored as Charity Website of the Year at The Good Web Guide's Website of the Year Awards 2014 - an annual celebration of online excellence.
healthtalk.org (formerly healthtalkonline) provides information on a range of illnesses and other health-related issues though real life experiences shared on video, audio and in text format.
Thousands of people have shared their experiences in video interviews with University of Oxford researchers to help others in the same situation understand what to expect from health issues such as breast cancer, depression, menopause or cervical abnormalities.
Within each health issue covered on the site, visitors can find out about the full range of experiences from finding out that something was wrong and making treatment decisions, to changes in family life and work.
healthtalk.org was co-founded in 2001 by breast cancer sufferer Dr Ann McPherson from her kitchen table with Dr Andrew Herxheimer. Though a GP herself, Ann wanted more than the medical facts about her condition. “I realised that I wanted to know how other people had managed with breast cancer” Ann explained in 2010. “I didn’t just want to hear the stories of people who had ridden across France and “battled” with their cancer, but just the ordinary people”. Sadly Ann passed away in 2011 from pancreatic cancer but the website continues to grow as a legacy to her vision.
The multi-award winning website comes from a unique partnership between the DIPEx charity and The Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) in the University of Oxford's Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences. The website is managed by the charity and the research that appears online is produced by the HERG team.
The website beat the RSPCA to take the annual award, presented this week at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. DIPEx chief executive Luís Carrasqueiro and HERG Director Professor Sue Ziebland were present to collect the award from PeoplePerHour's Xenios Thrasyvoulou, Luís commented:
“More than 2.5 million people visit healthtalk.org each year and it grows in popularity. There are some things about living with a health condition that you can only really learn from other people who have been in the same situation for example, how do you explain to a child that their mum has cancer? A lot of people tell us that they find comfort just in watching others talk so frankly about their experiences. It helps them realise that they are not alone. We’re thrilled that the website has been recognised by the Good Web Guide both for its technical quality and the support it provides to millions of people in the UK.”
Professor Sue Ziebland commented:
“healthtalk.org covers more than 87 different health issues. For each issue covered on the website a researcher travels around the country with a video camera, interviewing 30–50 people in their own homes. We use rigorous research methods to ensure that the full range of experiences is captured and shown on the website, not just the more sensational stories or hearsay you might find elsewhere online.”