About us

About us

DIPEx International is an association of expert researchers conducting qualitative research into people’s personal experiences of health and illness. Our mission is to improve understanding of personal health experiences for the benefit of patients and families, our communities, researchers, and the health sector, including healthcare professionals, and policy makers.

In particular, DIPEx International aims to:

  • Conduct research using the ‘DIPEx’ methodology to ensure a high quality, evidence-based approach to patient experiences.
  • Supervise, mentor and train other researchers.
  • Raise funds for the continuation and expansion of this research.
  • Disseminate research findings via member countries’ websites, as well as through conferences and peer reviewed publications.
  • Promote our work through seminars and conferences to our colleagues and professional associations and through the media to members of the public.

Our history

DIPEx International has been inspired by the UK-based healthtalk.org which is managed by the DIPEx charity in partnership with Health Experiences Research Group (HERG) at the Nuffield Department of Primary Care Health Sciences at the University of Oxford. Healthtalk.org provides information to the general public that is based on research interviews about personal experiences of health issues.

The original idea for a ‘Database of Individual Patients’ Experiences’ (DIPEx) came from Dr Ann McPherson, an Oxford GP and writer and Dr Andrew Herxheimer, a clinical pharmacologist and Emeritus fellow of the Cochrane collaboration (see more about this on healthtalk.org). Having experienced their own health challenges, both Ann and Andrew found that beyond their own medical knowledge, or what they could find in the scientific literature, they’d wanted to know more about the experiences of others, including how people’s health issues impacted their own quality of life. Founded in 2001, healthtalk.org now reaches millions of people each year and shares information on more than 110 health conditions.

Building on the success of this approach to publishing rigorous patients’ experience research in a highly accessible format, additional countries launched their own DIPEx chapters, and DIPEx International was established in 2013. DIPEx International now includes 14 countries.

How to join us

  1. Research teams must comprise:
    • a senior qualitative social scientist with a national reputation  and an established publication record in qualitative research
    • a clinician with a national reputation and good networks in different specialties; and
    • input from voluntary sector or user groups for patient and public involvement
  2. The team receives training by Health Experiences Research Group, Oxford University, or DIPEx International partner organization
  3. Compliance with the DIPEx International ethical funding policy for the purposes of publishing the work on a website. For example, no commercial advertising or funding from pharmaceutical companies.
  4. Funding secured for the first project, including website development

Thinking of joining us?

Would you like to replicate our work in your own country of residence? We love to hear from potential new colleagues, so please get in contact to discuss membership further.