Identifying Measures Used for Assessing Quality of YouTube Videos with Patient Health Information: A Review of Current Literature

Interact J Med Res. 2013 Feb 28;2(1):e6. doi: 10.2196/ijmr.2465.


Background: Recent publications on YouTube have advocated its potential for patient education. However, a reliable description of what could be considered quality information for patient education on YouTube is missing.

Objective: To identify topics associated with the concept of quality information for patient education on YouTube in the scientific literature.

Methods: A literature review was performed in MEDLINE, ISI Web of Knowledge, Scopus, and PsychINFO. Abstract selection was first conducted by two independent reviewers; discrepancies were discussed in a second abstract review with two additional independent reviewers. Full text of selected papers were analyzed looking for concepts, definitions, and topics used by its authors that focused on the quality of information on YouTube for patient education.

Results: In total, 456 abstracts were extracted and 13 papers meeting eligibility criteria were analyzed. Concepts identified related to quality of information for patient education are categorized as expert-driven, popularity-driven, or heuristic-driven measures. These include (in descending order): (1) quality of content in 10/13 (77%), (2) view count in 9/13 (69%), (3) health professional opinion in 8/13 (62%), (4) adequate length or duration in 6/13 (46%), (5) public ratings in 5/13 (39%), (6) adequate title, tags, and description in 5/13 (39%), (7) good description or a comprehensive narrative in 4/13 (31%), (8) evidence-based practices included in video in 4/13 (31%), (9) suitability as a teaching tool in 4/13 (31%), (10) technical quality in 4/13 (31%), (11) credentials provided in video in 4/13 (31%), (12) enough amount of content to identify its objective in 3/13 (23%), and (13) viewership share in 2/13 (15%).

Conclusions: Our review confirms that the current topics linked to quality of information for patient education on YouTube are unclear and not standardized. Although expert-driven, popularity-driven, or heuristic-driven measures are used as proxies to estimate the quality of video information, caution should be applied when using YouTube for health promotion and patient educational material.

Keywords: Internet; YouTube; health education; patient education; quality of information.