Background: Approximately 73% of US adults use YouTube, making it the most popular social media platform. Misinformation on social media is a growing concern; recent studies show a high proportion of misinformative health-related videos. Several studies on patient-provider communication and general health information seeking have been conducted. However, few studies to date have examined the potential association between patient-provider communication and health information seeking on specific social media platforms such as YouTube. A better understanding of this relationship may inform future health communication interventions.
Objective: The aim was to use nationally representative cross-sectional data to describe the association between perceived patient-provider communication quality and sociodemographic factors on watching YouTube health-related videos.
Methods: Data from the 2018 Health Information National Trends Survey were analyzed (N=3504). The primary outcome was whether participants watched a health-related video on YouTube over the past 12 months. A patient-provider communication composite score was created by summing responses about how often providers did the following: (1) gave you the chance to ask all the health-related questions you had, (2) gave attention to your feelings, (3) involved you in health care decisions as much as you wanted, (4) made sure that you understood the things you needed to do to take care of your health, (5) explained things in a way that you could understand, (6) spent enough time with you, and (7) helped you deal with feelings of uncertainty. Sociodemographic factors included age, gender, race/ethnicity, and education. Descriptive statistics and multivariable logistic regression were conducted.
Results: Approximately 1067 (35% weighted prevalence) participants reported watching a health-related video on YouTube. Higher perceived quality of patient-provider communication on the composite score was significantly associated with lower odds of watching health-related videos on YouTube. Regarding sociodemographic factors, increasing age and being a high school graduate (compared with college graduate) were associated with lower odds of watching health-related videos on YouTube; whereas, Hispanic and non-Hispanic Asians were more likely to have watched a health-related video on YouTube. For individual aspects of patient-physician communication, two of seven patient-provider communication variables were significant. Those who reported that providers "sometimes" spent enough time with them had higher odds of watching a health-related video on YouTube, compared with those who said providers "always" spent enough time with them. Participants reporting that they "never" have a chance to ask all their health-related questions also had higher odds of watching health-related videos on YouTube compared with those who reported "always."
Conclusions: Higher perceived quality of patient-provider communication is associated with lower odds of watching health-related videos on YouTube. When providers do not spend enough time or give an opportunity to ask questions, patients are more likely to pursue health information on social media.
Keywords: HINTS; attention; communication; cross-sectional studies; emotions; ethnic groups; health communication; logistic models; physician-patient relations; social media.
©Aisha Langford, Stacy Loeb. Originally published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org), 17.05.2019.