YouTube for doctors: Standard protocols do not yet exist for this medium

February 11, 2009

Do you want to share a video of yourself discussing a medical topic, or demonstrating a new procedure? Visit www.thedoctorschannel.com, where you can view videos uploaded by other physicians, and upload your own material.

Do you want to share a video of yourself discussing a medical topic, or demonstrating a new procedure? Visit www.thedoctorschannel.com, where you can view videos uploaded by other physicians, and upload your own material.

Productions can be as simple as something shot by a handheld camera phone or digital camera, or as complex as a commercial production (in which case your might want to use the resources of a university or a pharmaceutical or medical device company).

When you view material on www.thedoctorschannel.com, be aware that the material was not subject to peer review before it was posted, and also be aware that there are no requirements for the doctors posting material to make a declaration of conflicts of interest. In fact, there does not appear to be any mechanism to verify that people registering at the site are who they say they are.

Because of the speed with which your videos can be uploaded and disseminated, your video could reach a very broad audience very quickly, potentially giving your work great impact.

BUT: publish in haste, and repent at your leisure! Be aware that casual members of the public (including your patients and their lawyers) can visit this site and view your video (and quite easily copy it to their computers). This site is still in "beta" trials, and there does not appear to be any easy way to remove a video if you have second thoughts after it has been posted - so be sure you are happy with the material before you allow it to be uploaded to this or any other site. Before trying to create a video, it would be wise to watch a number of top-rated (and bottom-rated) videos to get an idea of what to do (and not do).

Also, be aware that, as with any other public commentary, you will be liable for the truth and fairness of what you broadcast.

You should consider that discussion of a new concept or demonstration of a new device or technique could interfere with subsequent attempts to patent or in other ways protect your intellectual property, or might even interfere with publication of a peer-reviewed paper on the subject matter discussed in your video.

www.thedoctorschannel.com

(or other sites like it) have the potential to accelerate the dissemination of medical information (and misinformation), medical opinion and even medical humor. I expect that as time goes on, standard protocols for the use of this medium will be developed. For the time being, I plan to be a lurker rather than a performer!

DT