19th August 2008 - eHealthForum, one of the worlds largest health sites, recently ran a poll to find out the first port of call when people are seeking medical advice. Out of almost 1,000 people who took part, nearly 50 percent stated that they looked up their symptoms online before turning to their doctor (24.9 percent), consulting family and friends (24.8 percent) or talking to their pharmacist (1.6 percent). The site has also seen a significant traffic increase of 15 percent over the last two months.
Stressed out doctors tend to reach for their prescription pad to fix the problem. But what about simply taking the time to talk to patients and listen to their worries? What appears to be missing from the many modern general practitioners (GPs and MDs) is good old fashioned treatment such as convalescence recommendations and time for non-drug related emotional support.
These days, doctor waiting rooms are often bursting at the seams. Sadly, this can mean that even those with the best intentions are thinking more about the never ending list of patients to get through, rather than focussing the individuals in their consulting room.
Perhaps then, it is not surprising that we’re seeing a massive movement of patients turning to the internet for support to check out symptoms, get a second opinion or even to find others with which to collude during recovery. Sometimes it is not a quick fix. While counselling certainly has a place, there has been a black hole in terms of available support groups to fit individual requirements.
The rise of 24/7 health sites are proving ever more popular. They fill the void when someone needs to reach out for help at 2am, for example. Online health forums are there when people might feel awkward bothering friends, family or doctors at unsociable hours; or need to ask a quick question for reassurance or would like to share something with an empathetic community.
“We’ve seen eHealthForum triple its traffic in a year; 15 percent in the last two months actually. More noticeably a dramatic increase of visitors to our ‘Ask A Doctor’ section. On average over 100 people are seeking our doctor’s advice per day. It has become apparent that more and more people are checking out medical advice online before visiting their regular doctor or they want a second opinion,” said Lewis Lurie, CEO of eHealthForum.
Further, Lee Weber, the Community Director at eHealthForum had this to say: “More and more people find the unconditional support from others in our forums play a significant role in the healing process. Indeed, many of our visitors go on to become volunteers, posting responses, help and support on other people’s posts. Caring and sharing is a great healer in itself. Many of our visitors discover that others have had similar experiences which they find enormously helpful. A problem shared is a problem halved, and that’s half the battle”.
To combat this rise in queries, and offer a more real-responsive service, eHealthForum has appointed Dr. Gjuzelov as the latest addition to the medical team. He will be In Residence on the forum to respond to online patents from around the world. To reach him, users register to the forums and submit medical questions to him online. With this appointment, eHealthForum expects to quadruple the amount of doctor generated content as well as increase access to a medical expert for users.
Doctor Nikola Gjuzelov is the author of ‘Ask a Doctor’ Author. He is also a real life doctor employed by eHealthForum to answer queries online from around the world. He said: “As technology develops I think we might see more and more people turn to online consultations and I hope to be on the edge of that movement.”
Facts and stats
- The Ask a Doctor section at ehealthforum.com has solicited over 4,500 medical questions in the past two years.
- 65 percent of the medical questions asked are generated by women, while 35 percent come from men
- With Dr. Gjuezlov on board, the quantity of expert responses will increase by 50 percent, with a turn-around estimated response time of only 24 hours
- The “Ask a Doctor” section of the site is present in over 175+ categories on eHealthForum
- 35 percent of all medical questions involve sexual health and pregnancy issues
- Other popular question categories include mental health and internal medicine
Men find the service extra useful as anonymous medical help seems preferable to face-to-face physical examinations for sensitive topics, especially regarding sexual health.
For a case study
For further information please contact: PR@ehealthforum.com
eHealthForum was established five years ago to help preserve and improve human life by bringing health-related information to all people via the internet. The online community connects people of all national, religious and cultural backgrounds who want to reach out about their medical concerns. The site’s forums provide a place for people to express themselves and connect with others dealing with medical issues. It is a sanctuary of comfort, understanding and information.
eHealthForum is a top 10,000 health reference site that reaches over 1,000,000 users in the U.S., 140,000 users in the U.K. and 115,000 users in Canada. Typical visitors to eHealthForum are aged 18-45 and over 70 percent are female. Men make up 30 percent of the site’s average visitors.