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User-led ratings websites


Interactive websites which allow service users to give feedback on service experiences to the site.


  • Children first for health is an example of a child-centred site including a ‘dear doc’ Q+A section, A-Z of health, dedicated boys, girls and age-group sections and information about hospital care including a video diary section.
  • Health Talk Online enables patient experience exchange through use of video
  • Map of Medicine (for clinicians) and healthguides (for public) site provide access to treatment pathways in an easily accessible graphic format much like a flow chart

  • Cancer Help website demonstrates differing approaches to information giving around cancer
  • Patient UK provides a wide range of health information in a very simple format; it also has an online forum
  • Ivillage is a popular lifestyle portal which features health information
  • Teenage health freak and Doctor Ann’s virtual surgery provide information tailored towards teens, an email Q+A section as well as quizzes and surveys add to the interaction on these friendly linked websites
  • NHS Direct provides official information on health including a step-by-step self help guide, local service locator, magazine section, health encyclopaedia and an information request service
  • NHS Choices provides a magazine style interface with three channels- live well, health A-Z and choose services.
  • Whole community websites such as talk2Croydon take a community based standpoint
  • Dlife provides a dedicated multimedia lifestyle site for those living with Diabetes
  • OPERA (Online Personal Education and Risk Assessment) genetic breast cancer project is due to be launched in 2008 by Cancer Backup. It will be a web based tool providing tailored information which will enable users to seek help or advice more effectively according to their specific personal situation.
  • Patient Opinion is a social enterprise website which enables users to log in and rate various service experiences they have.
  • Non healthcare ratings websites are currently more developed and indicate future trends, good examples include TripAdvisor and Amazon

Benefits and advantages

  • Allows patients carers or staff to input information anonymously which may increase verity of information
  • Allows NHS staff to get a snapshot of the patient experience and where this could be improved
    Could support a more open culture of trust

Risks and disadvantages

  • Nature of such sites is opinion based and so perhaps not always factually sound
  • Equity in response and voice must be maintained
  • Personal grudges may be aired inappropriately



Armchair Involvement Guide 2009 

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