Objective: To investigate YouTube as a patient information source on pediatric tonsillectomy.
Methods: YouTube was searched on July 31, 2012 for the search terms pediatric tonsillectomy (PT), tonsillectomy (T) and tonsil surgery (TS). Non-English videos were excluded. Two physician reviewers independently assessed the videos for characteristics, usefulness, and information source. Usefulness was assessed according to a checklist developed by the authors. Any discrepancies were resolved by consensuses. Data were analyzed with SPSS software.
Results: One hundred fifty-six videos were included in the analysis. Forty videos were classified as very or moderately useful (25.6%). Sources of the videos were as follows: patient experience, 103 videos (66%); physician, 30 (19%); surgical technique, 14 (9%); and news report, 9 (6%). Physician sourced information was generally at least moderately useful (58%) and patient experience videos were the predominant source of videos categorized as not useful or misleading (50%). Physician sourced information (coefficient=0.61; 95% CI: .21 to 1.00, p=0.003) and PT search term (coefficient=0.26; 95% CI: 0.05 to .47, p=0.017) were the most useful videos after adjusting for mean duration, days online, number of views and page search.
Conclusion: YouTube has a large number of videos on pediatric tonsillectomy with a variety of content ranging from very useful to not useful, and misleading. Health care professionals must recognize the potential influence that these video Web sites may have on patient attitudes.
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