Are We Accurately Teaching the Online Public about Appendicitis? A Novel Evaluation of YouTube Videos' Content

Corbin Walters, Amanda Hale, Stormy Walkup , Matt Vassar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Appendicitis affects approximately 250,000 people each year in the US. With increasing health costs, patients are turning to online platforms like YouTube to evaluate if their symptoms warrant urgent medical attention. The goal of this investigation is to evaluate the quality of the highest viewed appendicitis videos on YouTube using a novel scoring system developed by physicians.

We searched YouTube for videos related to appendicitis. These videos were scored in a blinded and independent fashion using a pilot-tested Google Form. Scores for each video could range from negative 8 to 21 points, with a point deduction for each misleading claim. We extracted the number of views, likes/dislikes, and presenter type for each video.

Of the 98 videos scored, 92 were included in the final analysis. The mean total score was 6.93, with a median score of 4.34. The range of scores was -7 to 21. There was a significant difference in total scores among YouTube videos from healthcare professionals compared to individuals with unknown credentials (P = 0.05). No significant difference was noted for number of likes or views.

Medical education on YouTube presents unique challenges for physicians and other healthcare professionals. One way to increase public exposure of high-quality medical information is through videos created by research and medical institutions. More high-quality YouTube videos from these institutions may better facilitate conversations between patients and providers, while minimizing the number of harmful or misleading statements.
Original languageAmerican English
JournalOklahoma State Medical Proceedings
Issue number1
StatePublished - 21 May 2021


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