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YouTube Health adds section focused on personal experiences with cancer and other conditions

by ay.sys888
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January 13, 2023

4 minute read


Interviews with Healio

Disclosures: Goren reports a job at YouTube Health.

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During patient office visits, oncologists often have to prioritize essential testing and treatment decision-making and are not always able to respond to patient concerns and questions that arise outside of the office. clinical.

“People trust their clinicians to give them the best medical advice, but the reality is that a physician’s ability to inform and educate their patients largely ends at the clinic door,” Nira Goren, MD, senior clinical manager at Google, told Healio. “So what can be done for all the moments that matter in a patient’s health journey outside of the clinic, which is the mainstay of people’s lives?”

Infographic on the shelf

Source: interviews with Healio

To help address these concerns and provide useful and relevant health information, YouTube Health has launched its Personal Stories shelf. This resource, verified for medical accuracy by external experts, is based on the concept that patients turn to YouTube not only for answers to simple medical questions, but also to answer the human question: “How can I live with this?”

Goren spoke with Healio about the potential value of YouTube Health as a way to bridge potential gaps in care that may arise between clinic visits.

Helio: How was the Personal Stories shelf born?

Goren: I am a pediatrician from experience, and I have always found it very helpful to help families help their children thrive. The journey of parenthood is a 24/7 business, and questions about your child’s health don’t end at 5 p.m. — in fact, they often seem to peak at 3 a.m. So the need to meet parents and guardians where they are, with the information they need when they need it first inspired me to work on YouTube Health.

We spent a lot of time trying to better understand why people come to our platform when they have these health questions. Not surprisingly, we’ve learned that people want to understand complex medical issues in simple, visual terms. To solve this problem, we launched the features of our health products last year. These videos feature content from authoritative health sources like hospitals, universities, and local health authorities. Over the past year, we have expanded our partnerships with leading health organizations such as Mass General Brigham and the American Public Health Association, as well as with clinicians and creators, to further increase the accessibility to high-quality health content.

Interestingly, however, we saw a less expected trend in the data: people often didn’t come to YouTube Health with medical questions as much as human questions. They have a diagnosis and – especially if it’s a chronic condition – they want to know how others are living with the disease or how they can support their loved one who has the disease.

This need for connection and belonging is so universal, and data has shown that peer support and social connectedness positively impact physical and mental health. There are different support groups available for this, and this is very important, but YouTube Health can complement this. He can meet these patients where they are at any time of the day, which is significant. That’s why we launched the Personal Stories shelf, which displays a personal story related to the interview subject.

Helio: How is the information verified for the Personal Stories Shelf?

Goren: We identify content that focuses on personal lived experiences and, in order to ensure that the content does not contain harmful content disinformation, it goes through a review process. We want to highlight supporting content, but we also want to make sure that there are no messages in that content that could be detrimental to the user.

The videos are already organically created and uploaded to YouTube. These shelves identify this personal and authentic content. They ensure that this content can be more discoverable for a user looking for this information at the time.

In terms of misinformation and disinformation, we consider it a garden. Pulling weeds is extremely important, but equally important is planting and watering the seeds you want to grow. We need both if we want a healthy information ecosystem. We want to identify content that is valid, accessible, and authentic, and provide contextual clues so that users seeking this information can find it and feel supported and empowered by it.

When it comes to weed pulling, all of our content goes through a mix of human review and machine learning. We also have various policies in place to prevent misinformation and disinformation. For example, last fall we announced an extension of our medical misinformation policy to cover all vaccines currently being administered. It is therefore not a one-sided approach. It should be a holistic approach to providing support and accurate information.

Helio: How doctors can use YouTube Health’s “Personal Stories” shelf to to improve communication and connection with patients?

Goren: The power of YouTube Health is that it can be a synergistic and complementary tool in the physician’s toolkit to empower patients to track their health journey outside of the clinic. Patients may forget what they heard at the doctor’s office, or questions may come to mind between clinic visits. Traditionally, a doctor might give a patient a pamphlet with information about their condition. With YouTube Health, it’s like the brochure has come to life. It harnesses the power of video to make these messages more relevant than traditional text brochures.

Helio: Is there anything else you would like to mention?

Goren: The work we did on personal stories was inspired by our colleague, Maya amoils, who was diagnosed with stage IV ovarian cancer in her twenties. She was an amazing champion who guided this work and spoke a lot about trying to find support from other women who had gone through a similar experience. A foundation has been created in his name and can be viewed online at integrativemedfoundation.org/mayas-way.

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