YouTube Provides Low-Quality Educational Content About Rotator Cuff Disease
YouTube videos have become a popular source of healthcare information in orthopedic surgery. It allows patients to engage in visual learning about common orthopedic problems like Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Rotator Cuff tears. However, YouTube does not regulate the information being posted, meaning it is possible that some videos are based on opinion or provide inaccurate information. Shoulder pain due to rotator cuff disease is a very common orthopedic problem, and there are over 177,000 YouTube videos pertaining to rotator cuff disease. Given this, we conducted an experiment to evaluate how reliable these YouTube videos are and grade their educational content. Our lab watched 50 YouTube videos about the rotator cuff and graded with various rating tools including the Journal of the American Medical Association benchmark criteria, the global quality score, and the rotator cuff specific score. We saw that the included videos were uploaded from academic institutions, physicians, trainers, patients, and commercial sources and the videos discussed topics ranging from surgical technique, patient experience, exercise training, and rotator cuff disease specifically.
Overall, we found that the quality and educational content of our sample of YouTube videos were rather poor, thus, we concluded that physicians should council their patients appropriately rather than relying on YouTube to explain rotator cuff issues.