Physicians ‘Like’ Patients’ Efforts to Self-Educate Online, Notes Dr. Shirin Towfigh

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Commenting on the recent article, hernia surgery specialist Dr. Shirin Towfigh explains that social media platforms are transforming interaction between patients and health care providers.

An added benefit associated with online health forums is the peace of mind and comfort they can provide patients.

As a widely respected surgeon and hernia specialist herself, Dr. Towfigh fully understands the symptoms and concerns that hernia sufferers face, and she is a frequent contributor to the Hernia Talk forum.

According to an article published April 11th on Hospitals & Health Networks, social media is dramatically changing the way patients and health care providers interact. The article explains that, in the health care field, emphasis is shifting toward preventative care and overall wellness, and “timely access to credible health information” via the Internet is a major contributing factor in this transformation. As Los Angeles based hernia surgery specialist Dr. Shirin Towfigh notes, because approximately 70 to 75 percent of Internet users in the U.S. are seeking health care information online, health-related social networking sites are proving to be not only extremely sought after, but exceptionally useful, especially when users are able to receive expert medical advice from physicians across the country.

These community-based sites such as HerniaTalk.com allow users to not only discuss their condition, treatment plans, and compare outcomes, but also provide a medium for legitimate, accredited medical professionals to answer patients’ questions and even make recommendations, Dr. Towfigh notes. Indeed, because HerniaTalk users come from all over the country, the experienced team of hernia specialists may sometimes direct users to the most trusted and innovative doctors in the user’s particular area, Dr. Towfigh explains. Of course, while health related information on the Internet should by no means trump the advice patients receive directly from their primary care physician, in a culture where patients are more willing to self-educate to promote overall wellness, such information can help patients make more informed healthcare decisions, Dr. Towfigh notes. What’s more, because some types of hernias are often misdiagnosed, especially in women, patients have every incentive to seek out all relevant information and advocate for themselves in order to receive the best possible treatment.

An added benefit associated with online health forums is the peace of mind and comfort they can provide patients. Due to the relatively personal nature of hernias and abdominal pain, many patients find themselves suffering in silence. Sites such as HerniaTalk let users reach out anonymously to a particular group who can properly empathize with them, which can quell feelings of isolation. Sometimes, just the understanding that others are listening and struggling with similar issues can be a great reassurance to patients, Dr. Towfigh explains.

As the founder of a free online forum in which hernia sufferers are able to discuss their symptoms and receive input from a network of hernia surgeons and specialists, Dr. Towfigh suggests that it is the specialized nature of the Hernia Talk forum that accounts for its effectiveness. As a widely respected surgeon and hernia specialist herself, Dr. Towfigh fully understands the symptoms and concerns that hernia sufferers face, and she is a frequent contributor to the Hernia Talk forum. She notes that the intent of creating this Internet forum has been to help hernia patients understand the wide range of treatment and therapy options available to them. Interested readers are encouraged to visit http://www.herniatalk.com to learn more.

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Bob Westal
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