Background: A number of studies have evaluated the educational contents of videos on YouTube. However, little analysis has been done on videos about physical examination.
Objective: This study aimed to analyze YouTube videos about physical examination of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. It was hypothesized that the educational standards of videos on YouTube would vary significantly.
Methods: During the period from November 2, 2011 to December 2, 2011, YouTube was searched by three assessors for videos covering the clinical examination of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. For each video, the following information was collected: title, authors, duration, number of viewers, and total number of days on YouTube. Using criteria comprising content, technical authority, and pedagogy parameters, videos were rated independently by three assessors and grouped into educationally useful and non-useful videos.
Results: A total of 1920 videos were screened. Only relevant videos covering the examination of adults in the English language were identified (n=56). Of these, 20 were found to be relevant to cardiovascular examinations and 36 to respiratory examinations. Further analysis revealed that 9 provided useful information on cardiovascular examinations and 7 on respiratory examinations: scoring mean 14.9 (SD 0.33) and mean 15.0 (SD 0.00), respectively. The other videos, 11 covering cardiovascular and 29 on respiratory examinations, were not useful educationally, scoring mean 11.1 (SD 1.08) and mean 11.2 (SD 1.29), respectively. The differences between these two categories were significant (P<.001 for both body systems). The concordance between the assessors on applying the criteria was 0.89, with a kappa score >.86.
Conclusions: A small number of videos about physical examination of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems were identified as educationally useful; these videos can be used by medical students for independent learning and by clinical teachers as learning resources. The scoring system utilized by this study is simple, easy to apply, and could be used by other researchers on similar topics.
Keywords: YouTube; cardiovascular system physical examination; clinical skills; competency; learning resources; medical curriculum; medical education; respiratory system physical examination; self-directed learning.