In today’s world, the internet and social media are part of everyday life. In seconds, a handheld device can deliver more information than it can read. The ease and simplicity of finding information on the internet translates directly into answering health questions and concerns. In 2011, 59% of adults searched for health information online and Internet access has grown exponentially since then .
One of the most used social media sites is YouTube, which was created in 2005 and now has over 1 billion users, allowing hundreds of millions of hours of total video viewing every day . Social media has great potential for providing easy access to medical information, but the information received is likely not accurate or free of bias. A YouTube search for tanning bed use returns 68% of videos with a positive view of tanning bed use, not to mention dangers like melanoma. This is an obvious problem facing the field of dermatology . Issues related to online patient education videos and their quality and accuracy have recently attracted more attention. YouTube video reviews of heart failure, mammograms, and asthma, among others, have been published since 2015, but there are no standardized methods or guidelines for assessment [4-7]. The lack of regulation within online medical education is hindering the progress of doctors, but with the knowledge of how YouTube videos can be rated, both the public and healthcare professionals can better assess the quality of the information they receive. The purpose of this review is to determine how the studies were able to evaluate the educational videos and provide an overview of the most common methods used.
A comprehensive search was conducted on both Embase and PubMed in November 2016. A data management librarian determined the search terms after a preliminary search to find which keywords would provide relevant articles. Many search combinations did not generate any articles, as this is a relatively new topic and YouTube was not created until 2005. Therefore, our article inclusion date covered everything published after 2005. PubMed and Embase were chosen as bibliographic databases for research. as they are reliable sources of medical literature and PubMed also includes literature from the Medline database. The first search was conducted on Embase with the term “Patient Education” AND “YouTube” OR “Online Video” OR “Online Video”. In PubMed, two separate searches were performed. The first search term was (“Patient Education as a Topic” [Medical Topic Headings] OR “Patient Education”) AND (“YouTube” OR “Online Video”) and the second search term was “YouTube Health” . One author reviewed all included articles and the results were reviewed and approved by another author. Each included article was read in its entirety and the methods, as well as the unique characteristics of each study, were recorded in MS Excel format and compared.
The inclusion criteria for the studies to be reviewed were as follows: (1) analysis of videos intended for patients or guardians, (2) contains detailed and repeatable analysis methods, (3) English language, and (4) analysis of videos that are made available to the public.
The Embase search (“Patient Education” AND “YouTube” OR “Online Video” OR “Online Video”) generated 65 results, of which 20 were included for review. The first PubMed search (“Patient Education as a Topic” [Medical Topic Headings] OR “Patient Education”) AND (“YouTube” OR “Online Video”) yielded 77 results and 13 articles met the inclusion criteria. The latest PubMed search (“YouTube Health Guidelines”) returned 16 results, of which 4 articles were reviewed. This led to the review of a total of 37 studies (see multimedia Appendix 1). Most of the excluded articles were omitted due to their irrelevance, which means that the studies focused more on websites than videos, tested the effectiveness of videos created by personal doctors on their patients or that videos analyzed were intended for medical use only.