We were commissioned to explore he role Online Health Communities (OHCs) could play in increasing Patient Public Involvement (PPI). Our findings could be significant in the context of a changing approach to increased patient involvement and engaging with the end-user’s ecosystem via a two-way dialogue.

Individuals, comprised of patients, carers, academics and industry are self-organising outside of the traditional healthcare structures, using niche digital platforms as well as existing platforms such as Facebook.

These change stories are moving away from the traditional top-down, rigid hierarchical structure, to a flexible network of actors powered by the gift economy and a desire to support each other – generally through a shared experience.

This first animation in the series explains our findings.