YouTube a good way to educate patients about male infertility
YouTube has increasingly become an avenue for delivering information about male infertility, though crucial knowledge gaps still exist, a recent study has found.
Healthcare professionals and organizations need to be vigilant of the potential influence of this online platform on patient awareness and understanding, and could also produce their own informational videos to make sure that appropriate and accurate information is released, the researchers said.
Two independent investigators conducted a review of the top 50 YouTube videos under the keyword “male infertility,” based on relevance. They used the American Urological Association’s guidelines to assess the quality of the video content based on the following criteria: definition of infertility, history, physical exam, diagnostic tests, nonsurgical and surgical interventions, and assisted reproductive technologies.
After excluding non-English videos, 42 videos remained available for assessment, most of which (55 percent; n=23) were produced by healthcare organizations, and 17 percent (n=7) were created by healthcare practitioners. Patients, individual caretakers, and advocates were responsible for the remaining 28 percent of videos.
Most videos provided information regarding infertility (93 percent) and diagnostic tests (90 percent). Many also touched on the subject of a patient’s medical and environmental history (60 percent) as well as nonsurgical interventions (50 percent).
In contrast, assisted reproductive technologies (31 percent) were infrequently addressed, as were surgical interventions (33 percent) and physical examinations (43 percent).
Notably, the researchers found that shorter videos were better, such that those that achieved a grade of A (indicative of the best information density) had a mean duration of 2.1±0.7 minutes; those that were graded D (worst information density) were on average 14.5±14.7 minutes long.
“Knowledge gaps identified … such as limited discussion about the timeline for receiving a male infertility diagnosis can help improve patient counseling and enable practitioners to direct patients to accurate and reliable sources of information,” the researchers said.