Dermatology content widely dispersed on YouTube

July 15, 2014

Content related to dermatology and dermatologic conditions is widely available on YouTube, but identifying sources for some of the content remains a challenge, according to results of a recent study.

Content related to dermatology and dermatologic conditions is widely available on YouTube, but identifying sources for some of the content remains a challenge, according to results of a recent study.

The study, conducted by University of Colorado Cancer Center, examined the type of content related to dermatology found on YouTube, according to the study. Using terms such as skin cancer, skin conditions, sun protection and dermatology, the investigators found 100 videos with more than 47 million views. The 100 videos were “shared” more than 101,000 times, driving 6,325 subscriptions to YouTube user pages.

Under the search term “dermatology,” 45 percent of the content was educational, while 20 percent was clinical demonstrations by dermatologists. Most results for “skin cancer awareness” were advocacy-related (80 percent). The most prevalent content type was advocacy, with 24 percent of total search results. Of the total number of videos, 35 percent were uploaded by or included an M.D./D.O./Ph.D. in dermatology or another specialty or field, researchers found.

Next: Finding evidence-based data

 

 

 

Social media sites such as YouTube can contain unverified content, researchers noted, creating challenges when users turn to the sites as sources for preventive medicine.

“For example, when searching ‘skin cancer,’ the fourth most relevant video is entitled ‘Dermatologists Hate This Video! (Natural Skin Cancer Cures),’ claiming a 100 percent cure rate for melanoma,” study authors noted. “This was also the video with the most shares and subscriptions driven, according to the data available.

“Although the mix of content and availability of educational videos creates a vast resource for providers and the general public, challenges of accessing evidence-based data remain,” study authors concluded.

The findings were published in the June issue of Dermatology Online Journal.