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YouTube as a source of information for patients considering surgery for ulcerative colitis

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Published:1st Dec 2017
Author: Baker DM, Marshall JH, Lee MJ, Jones GL, Brown SR, Lobo AJ.
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Ref.:J Surg Res. 2017;220:133-138.
YouTube as a source of information for patients considering surgery for ulcerative colitis

With the range of health information online, assessing the resources that patients access may improve the content of preoperative information. Our aim was to assess the content of the most viewed videos on YouTube related to surgery for ulcerative colitis (UC).

Methods: YouTube was searched for videos containing information on surgery for UC. The 50 most viewed videos were identified and user interaction analyzed. Upload source was classified as patient, individual health care professional (HCP), or hospital/professional association. Video content was categorized using an inductive thematic analysis on a purposive sample list of videos. The overarching theme of each video was classified once data saturation was achieved.

Results: Thirty videos were uploaded by patients, 15 by hospitals and 5 by HCPs. Seventeen videos (34%) discussed life after surgery. Sixteen of these were uploaded by patients who had previously undergone surgery for UC. No videos of this theme were uploaded by HCPs. Ten videos (20%) described a number of different operations. Other themes identified were alternative health therapies (12%), colonoscopy (12%), life with UC (8%), miscellaneous (8%), and education for HCPs (6%). Patient uploaded videos had significantly more comments (P = 0.0079), with 28% of comments on patient videos being users requesting further information.

Conclusions: Understanding the sequelae of surgery is most important to preoperative patients. There are a lack of professional videos addressing this topic on YouTube. HCPs must participate in the production of videos and adapt preoperative consultations to address common preoperative concerns.

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