Inspired by a recent Pew Research Center study that determined six out of 10 Americans sought medical information online in 2013, researchers conducted a study to evaluate the quality of the health information available online.
In their review, researchers conducted a keyword search of “seasonal influenza” using the video-sharing platform YouTube. Of those videos topping the search results, researchers analyzed the videos for source, content and characteristics.
Additionally, the researchers developed a scoring system meant to measure the quality of the information based on CDC guidelines. The scoring system was designed to apply points for information based on the source and other characteristics while points were deducted if the videos provided misleading information.
"This study confirmed that most YouTube videos on seasonal influenza are provided by professional societies and health-care providers, with over half of the videos attempting to educate patients," says Dr. Lakshmi Kallur, lead researcher and resident physician in the Department of Internal Medicine at East Tennessee State University's Quillen College of Medicine. "These videos, although containing accurate information, did not fulfill our criteria as far as educating patients thoroughly."
The study is published in the CHEST Journal.