On May 28, 2011, the world lost a respected general practitioner, health communicator and patient advocate. Dr. Ann McPherson, a recipient of the UK’s Medical Journalists’ Association Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010 and the BMJ’s Health Communicator of the Year award in 2011, recognized very early on in her career that it is essential to put the patient perspective at the center of health care. After her own experience with breast cancer, Ann wanted to create a place for patients to discuss their personal and emotional experiences with the health condition, not just the medical aspect. This realization eventually led her to establish the charity Database of the Individual Patient Experiences (DIPEx), which publishes two patient websites: Healthtalkonline. In addition to allowing patients to share their own stories, these sites also include qualitative and evidence-based research on the various medical topics from the Health Experiences Research Group at the University of Oxford.
Like Ann, we believe the patient’s perspective is essential to delivering quality medical care and to the shared decision making process. The world has lost a remarkable person, but Ann’s work lives on through her websites and the individuals who had a chance to work with her.