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By Christina Frangou

In an effort to help optimize outcomes, an American hernia surgeon launched a Facebook group designed to facilitate global collaboration and feedback among all surgeons, physicians, pain specialists, radiologists, industry partners and some patients interested in hernia repair.

Brian P. Jacob, MD, associate clinical professor of surgery at New York City’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine, created the International Hernia Collaboration group as a forum for individuals who want to discuss hernia repair.

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Dr. Jacob says the page will foster dialogues similar to those held at physicians’ conferences but on a much bigger scale.

“By embracing social media platforms in novel ways, like creating Facebook groups to discuss hernia cases, we can suddenly collaborate on a scale, speed and with more people far beyond anything we’ve done in the past,” he said.

“Instead of reaching hundreds of doctors at a conference, we could now reach thousands or tens of thousands across multiple specialties, while simultaneously providing and obtaining feedback to our industry colleagues and patients who have been operated on by us.”

Launched in late December 2012, the site attracted more than 60 international surgeon members within the first week.

Members can use the site to post anything related to hernia, like images, videos or press announcements, or to ask colleagues for opinions on interesting cases.

Dr. Jacob posted about one of his cases on Christmas Day and was impressed at the speed of the response. “While the world was on vacation, I was able to … get feedback from more than nine international hernia experts in three hours.”

To join, all members must have a Facebook account. They can request to join the group or be invited by an active member. All members must be approved by one of the account administrators.

Patients will occasionally be invited to join and discuss the specifics of their case.

The organizers caution that posts are part of a social forum and patients should never interpret the posts as medical advice.

Anyone interested in the International Hernia Collaboration Facebook group can visit the summary page at www.facebook.com/​groups/​herniacollab/​.