YouTube as a source of information on rhinosinusitis: the good, the bad and the ugly

J Laryngol Otol. 2013 Aug;127(8):749-54. doi: 10.1017/S0022215113001473. Epub 2013 Jul 18.


Objective: YouTube is an internet-based repository of user-generated content. This study aimed to determine whether YouTube represented a valid and reliable patient information resource for the lay person on the topic of rhinosinusitis.

Methods: The study included the first 100 YouTube videos found using the search term 'sinusitis'. Videos were graded on their ability to inform the lay person on the subject of rhinosinusitis.

Results: Forty-five per cent of the videos were deemed to provide some useful information. Fifty-five per cent of the videos contained little or no useful facts, 27 per cent of which contained potentially misleading or even dangerous information. Videos uploaded by medical professionals or those from health information websites contained more useful information than those uploaded by independent users.

Conclusion: YouTube appears to be an unreliable resource for accurate and up to date medical information relating to rhinosinusitis. However, it may provide some useful information if mechanisms existed to direct lay people to verifiable and credible sources.

MeSH terms

  • Consumer Health Information / standards*
  • Consumer Health Information / trends
  • Humans
  • Information Dissemination
  • Internet
  • Rhinitis*
  • Sinusitis*
  • Social Media / standards*
  • Social Media / trends
  • Video Recording / standards*
  • Video Recording / trends