YouTube shows Health UK strategy: 5 things we learned

two billion. This is the number of views of health related YouTube videos in 2021. To this end, YouTube, the second most visited website on Earth, has partnered with the National Health Service to combat health misinformation. Part of the partnership and YouTube’s efforts is to create a “Health Shelf” that users can access for health-related content.

On a cold Wednesday in January 2023, the YouTube Health team invites leading UK healthcare influencers and creators to Google’s London headquarters for a day of knowledge sharing and collaboration. The theme reflected YouTube Health’s mission: “to make high-quality health information available to everyone”, which is certainly relevant in an age of rampant ‘fake news’ that can make online health content dangerously inaccurate. Is.

YouTube’s UK Head of Health Dr Vishal Virani led a day of panel discussions, talks and networking sessions, and I took away several important learnings:

1. People are increasingly turning to the Internet as a reliable source of health information

In years past, the first place people went to when seeking health advice or a diagnosis was their doctor. But now that the Internet is firmly woven into the fabric of our lives, and to be honest, securing face-time with a physician in primary care is more difficult than ever, most of us are searching for answers or solutions. Let’s turn to our phones and laptops. For our health concerns. YouTube’s data strongly supports this. In 2021 alone, 180,000 health-related videos were uploaded to the platform, and these videos were viewed two billion times. In a world where we are all accustomed to instant, on-demand access to information, the Internet is filling the gaps left by a shortage of medical professionals and limited state-sponsored health education. But the accuracy and security of health information online is hard to police, and the spread of misinformation is having real-world consequences. While somewhat controversial, one only has to look at the link between COVID-19 misinformation and vaccine uptake to understand the gravity of the threat posed by false health narratives.

2. To combat fake news, search demands must be met with reliable, accurate information

92% of online adults use YouTube and the average 18-34 year old spends 70 minutes per day watching YouTube content. This is an audience that is highly likely to search for their health information online, so rather than trying to reverse this trend, we must ensure that the content they are accessing is reliable, accurate and safe Is.

YouTube Health has several work streams to achieve this, offering a blueprint that other content platforms can choose to follow. They’re working very closely with NHS Digital on a “health shelf” so that HealthSearch first returns authoritative, validated video from reputable sources, which is certainly both complex and meaningful – a combination they’re not afraid to bend Huh. They are also working with NHS England and the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges to define content and quality standards.

3. Understanding where and how different demographics consume information is essential to effective public health education

YouTube is definitely working hard to become the number one source for reliable online health information and they are very clear about who their demographic is and the content needed to drive meaningful behavior change; But not every Internet user will use YouTube solely to learn about health and fitness.

If online health misinformation is to be effectively tackled, it is important to examine where each demographic accesses content, and the manner in which they do so. This means that major platforms including TikTok, Instagram and news media outlets need to be brought onboard in the mission to replace misinformation with accurate, regulated content that is tailored and adapted to the consumption habits of specific audiences.

4. Cross-sector collaboration is essential

The NHS and other health organizations have a wealth of health information and knowledge. However, they lack the knowledge, resources, and experience of organizations such as YouTube to place this information where it will be actively found by mass audiences. By taking advantage of partnerships like this, NHS organizations can rapidly increase access to their high quality health content. Influencer and creator partnerships are equally important here, as they enable health bodies to speak to engaged communities through data that is already trusted by large audiences. It’s also worth noting that collaboration can be mutually beneficial in more ways than one: for example, YouTube and other online content platforms have the potential to be an incredibly valuable internal education resource for health care organizations that need to educate their staff. Its members need to train and educate themselves. workforce.

5. The audience needs to be engaged, not bored

The most effective education content is the one that people actually want to see. Monotonous, dated or lectured videos don’t perform well online, so creators need to work with audience tastes in order to be successful. We know the most viewed content is fast-paced, well-edited and built around real people and their stories: the best health content matches that and builds people at every stage of their health journey Along with providing many types of help. A community of people with a shared health experience.


Can YouTube balance entertainment and regulation?

I left the event feeling inspired and encouraged about the opportunities and potential for improving public health knowledge through online content. The result was undoubtedly a product of spending an entire day surrounded by talented creators and tech leaders who were truly passionate about elevating the patient voice, democratizing access to health knowledge, and empowering patients at every step of their healthcare journey. Used to think

It felt like a big tech project right. Big Tech has had an interesting relationship with healthtech and many projects have come and gone, but Dr. Vishal Virani and the YouTube Health team certainly accept their responsibility and are committed to their power to reassure patients, educate and change behavior. Creating a very aware platform about. ,

Achieving an appropriate balance of ambition and governance is not easy when you are innovating in healthcare technology and media, especially at the pace YouTube Health is gaining. So it’s no surprise to learn that YouTube Health’s leadership is inspired by physicians and able to appreciate such a fine balance of information, engagement, and regulation. Along with Dr. Virani, Dr. Garth Graham is a cardiologist and global head of YouTube Health, and Dr. Susan Thomas, once a geriatrician, is the clinical director of Google Health.

The challenge of regulating and moderating the vast amount of health content online should not be underestimated, but with enough investment and innovation it seems possible that accurate and reliable content could win out. To do this, I believe we will need to see continued collaboration and knowledge-sharing that extends to the maker community, large tech organizations, and healthcare providers, with a particular emphasis on inclusion and community engagement.

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