YoutTube Patient Education

YouTube Patient Education in Low Back Pain

Low Back pain is shared among all groups of people across the world, and with an aging population, the LBP problem is predicted to grow worse shortly. Most people with this condition turn to the internet to seek answers to their health problems. As a widely used video search engine, YouTube is a popular stop for most seeking answers to their LBP problem. Scientists have reservations about the accuracy and quality of health information provided on the YouTube platform, and the objective of the study this article summarizes was to investigate the educational quality of LBP YouTube videos.1

The researchers analyzed the first 50 videos on the results page after searching for ‘low back pain’ and ‘back pain.’ They analyzed the videos’ characteristics, content category, upload source, reliability, and educational quality.

Researchers checked through the first 50 videos

Findings and Results

The videos they assessed were viewed approximately 63 million times, averaging 800,000 views per video. The videos lasted approximately seven minutes. These stats show a significant interest in low back pain among YouTube viewers. Most content creators were non-physicians, uploading more than half of the content. The sheer number of non-physicians disseminating information about LBP on the platform raised concern among researchers about the accuracy of the information communicated.

The prevalent video categories were general LBP information and exercise routines. One can understand viewers’ interest in exercise videos, as exercise is the foundation of treatment for most LBP patients. However, people should prioritize the videos created by qualified healthcare professionals. The videos under general LBP information covered various topics, from risk factors to treatment options. Like the other category, people should prioritize getting information about LBP from videos created by qualified healthcare practitioners. 

The results showed low dependability and low quality of instruction. The videos got an average rating of 2.25 out of 4 for reliability and 2.29 out of 5 for overall educational quality. An average score of 3.83 out of 15 was obtained using a different grading method, especially for LBP stuff. These findings imply that many LBP videos on YouTube might not be particularly trustworthy or educational for patients.

Researchers found that more popular videos with more likes and views had lower educational quality scores.

The researchers explain the terrible quality of specific LBP videos on YouTube in several ways. First, videos submitted to the platform do not undergo a quality control procedure. Anyone, regardless of medical background, may upload a video. Second, the algorithm used by YouTube’s search engine can prioritize popularity above accuracy. Viewers may see more enjoyable or engaging videos than educational ones.

 

 

Limitations

Some limitations include the scoring system and the small video sample size. The scoring system that researchers used to assess educational quality has not been extensively proven. Regardless, the study shows the misinformation problem on YouTube and how patients must be careful with the health information they consume online.

Key Takeaways From the Study

Searching for material on YouTube can be challenging for those who suffer from lower back pain. To make you a more knowledgeable viewer, the following are some important conclusions drawn from this study:

  • Credibility matters. Seek videos from reliable sources, such as medical experts or associations like the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). More likely, these videos are more grounded in best practices and scientific data.
  • Popularity doesn’t equal accuracy. A video isn’t necessarily a reliable source of information because it gets many views or likes. This study discovered that some of the least instructive movies were also among the most watched.
  • Be critical of the content. Observe the details that are provided in the video. Does it appear to support what your physical therapist or doctor told you? Something is most likely strange if it seems so.
  • When in doubt, consult a professional. While YouTube may be a valuable source of information regarding LBP, it shouldn’t be used in place of qualified medical advice. See a physician or physical therapist to receive a diagnosis and go over your choices for therapy if you think you may have LBP.

Solving the Low-Quality LBP Information on YouTube

Researchers acknowledge YouTube’s fast-paced environment. Videos are being uploaded and deleted per second, making it difficult to ensure patients can access accurate information. The proposed solutions: 

  • Standardized criteria for medical content: It might be advantageous to create precise criteria that medical practitioners can adhere to while posting medical information on YouTube. This would make it easier to guarantee that these videos are factual, educational, and supported by scientific data.
  • Peer review process: YouTube may establish a system where professionals evaluate videos on medical subjects before they are posted, similar to what happens with academic journals. This would assist in filtering out false or deceptive information.
  • Medically reviewed YouTube channel: Another proposal is to create a specialized YouTube channel, such as UpToDate or Orthobullets, for updated and vetted information by medical professionals. This channel may be a good resource for people seeking trustworthy information regarding LBP and other medical disorders.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers are crucial in helping patients sift through the vast amount of online health information. Here’s how. They can:

  • Educate patients about online resources: Physicians and physical therapists can discuss with their patients where to go for trustworthy internet health information and offer advice on recognizing reliable sources, such as websites run by respected medical associations.
  • Develop their own YouTube channels: Healthcare providers can start their own YouTube channels and post factual and educational videos to educate patients about LBP and other disorders.
  • Engage with patients on social media: Healthcare professionals may communicate with patients and address their concerns using social media sites like YouTube. Healthcare providers may contribute to the fight against false information and the advancement of improved health outcomes by producing exciting educational material.

 

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Conclusion

YouTube is a hotspot for those seeking information on low back pain. However, the quality of LBP videos on the platform varies greatly. This study found LBP videos on the platform to be mainly from unreliable sources. While patients need to watch to only consume LBP information from credible sources, healthcare workers can help patients access up-to-date information through online health information.

Working together, patients and healthcare providers can help the YouTube platform ensure that people who suffer from low back pain receive the right education and can make informed decisions regarding their condition.

 

Dynamic Disc Designs is a spine modelling company that helps with the anatomical patient education of low back pain sources.