Social Media Is A source Of Inaccurate information On Health Matters, Study Shows

In Education

Researchers from The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center are cautioning women against relying solely on social media, particularly TikTok, for information on gynecologic cancers. They emphasize the prevalence of misinformation and highly inaccurate advice on the platform. Alarmingly, millions of women now turn to TikTok for health-related guidance, highlighting the need for more reliable sources.

More authentic educational materials necessary to counter disinformation

As a result, the authors of the study emphasize the immediate necessity for healthcare providers and institutions to generate additional authentic educational materials and rectify the prevailing deficiencies in patient care.

Lead study author, Dr. Laura Chambers, explains how this research delves into the influential capacity of social media in disseminating potentially harmful misinformation to a wide audience, posing risks to patient well-being in real-life healthcare scenarios. Furthermore, this study underscores an avenue for rectifying prevalent knowledge deficiencies that are often overlooked during conventional clinical consultation

Dr. Chambers embarked on a study to investigate the undisclosed worries of her predominantly female patient base, particularly mothers and young women. Her focus was to gain insights into their social media usage, online information sharing, and information consumption habits.

According to Dr. Chambers, the study aimed to uncover unspoken patient needs in healthcare, especially regarding challenges patients face at home during treatment. Doctors typically concentrate on treatment effects and outcomes, but this research highlights the importance of addressing patients’ personal challenges, such as supporting their children during fatiguing treatments.

Tiktok has low quality and inaccurate information

In this study, the team analyzed the 500 most popular TikTok posts related to gynecologic cancer, focusing on ovarian, endometrial, cervical, vulvar cancers, and gestational trophoblastic disease. They assessed the top five hashtags for each of these topics for themes, information quality, and content reliability.

The study reveals that TikTok contains mostly low-quality and inaccurate information, with approximately 73% of content falling into this category. Additionally, the research highlights racial disparities within the platform. Dr. Chambers emphasizes the need to address these inaccuracies and promote diverse content for better communication with patients in the context of cancer treatment.

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