In the age of the Internet, patients often go online to conduct their own research, which they can then potentially use to make important healthcare decisions. While the sheer volume of health information freely available to the public through digital means is a wonderful benefit of living in the 21st century, the quality of this information available online does not always equal what clinicians could provide. to their patients. Most patients could really benefit from additional guidance from a medical professional.
The study, “Assessing the Quality of Patient Information for Vestibular Schwannoma on the Open Source Video Sharing Platform YouTube,” published in the March issue of Otology & Neurotologyexplores the concept of quality audiological information on the Internet using the example of vestibular schwannoma information available on YouTube, the popular video-sharing platform.
A vestibular schwannoma is a non-cancerous tumor found on the main nerve running from the inner ear to the brain that grows slowly and sometimes not at all. In rare cases, the tumor can grow rapidly, becoming large enough to press against the brain and impact vital functions. Pressure from a vestibular schwannoma can cause hearing loss, ringing in the ears, and unsteadiness. Most will only require monitoring, but a few patients will need radiation therapy or surgical removal of their tumour.
This cross-sectional study used several recognized rating systems to rate the average quality of the videos included in the study. The study also assessed whether video quality metrics correlated with video popularity based on metadata analysis.
The researchers systematically searched the YouTube website on different days using a formal search strategy to locate videos related to vestibular schwannoma. Each identified video was then viewed and given disease-specific quality and accuracy scores by three independent reviewers.
Metrics measuring the popularity of the video were also analyzed and compared to the quality of the video. The study team also conducted patient surveys to get more patient perspectives on the videos studied.
The study included 23 YouTube videos in total. According to the essential and ideal video completeness criteria, average scores ranged from 4.8 to 5.0 (out of 12), which equates to moderate video quality. DISCERN scores ranged from 30.0 to 36.7, which translates to lower reliability. The average JAMA score ranged from 1.96 to 2.48, indicating average quality. Based on these scores, the information from the YouTube videos studied was of low to average quality and reliability. Study results showed reliable rater rating and viewer engagement was weakly correlated with video quality, with the exception of JAMA data.
This study concludes that video quality on the topic of vestibular schwannoma is only low to average quality and that since viewer engagement and popularity are not necessarily related to better quality, clinicians may need to direct their patients to high-quality videos. The study authors suggest that clinicians consider uploading their own high-quality videos to YouTube.
Although vestibular schwannoma was the particular topic investigated here, audiologists concerned about the quality of information patients might find online, and then draw incorrect medical conclusions, might consider providing patients with their own materials on a number of issues. other hearing-related topics.