Hypertension (HTN) is a prevalent and growing public health problem in the United States and worldwide. Video sharing Web sites such as YouTube could potentially influence patient behaviors via properties of interpersonal and mass media communication. We conducted this cross-sectional study to assess the accuracy and content of YouTube videos on HTN and understand how viewers interact with this online information. We analyzed 209 videos (31.57 hours) of which 63% were classified as useful, 33% as misleading, and 4% represented patient's personal experiences. Number of views per day and "likes" were significantly lower for useful videos. Approximately half the misleading videos contained product advertisements, 70% advocated unproven alternative treatments, and 91% targeted patients. Viewer engagement (number of views) was a poor predictor of usefulness and/or content whereas source of upload, and target audiences were good predictors of usefulness and/or content. Videos uploaded by university channels and/or professional organizations that targeted physicians had a 99.4% (P < .001) probability of being useful whereas videos uploaded by individuals with unknown credentials that targeted patients had a 21.2% (P < .001) probability of being useful. A majority of HTN-related videos on YouTube are useful. Viewer engagement is significantly higher with videos that contain misleading and/or erroneous information in comparison to videos that contain useful information.
Keywords: High blood pressure; Internet; social media and YouTube.
Copyright © 2014 American Society of Hypertension. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.