Evaluation of YouTube as a Source of Information Regarding Syndactyly
Adam N Fano, BS1, Brittany Ward, BS2, Robert DalCortivo, BS1, Christopher J Warren, MD1, Alex Lin, BA2, Jasmine Lin, MS2, Patrick Mattern, MD1 and Alice Chu, MD2, (1)Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ, (2)Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, Newark, NJ
Syndactyly is the most common congenital hand deformity, affecting 1/2000 newborns. Caregivers are often curious to learn more about this condition outside of the healthcare encounter, and Internet resources have become extremely accessible. Video-sharing websites like YouTube have gained particular attention, and previous studies have shown deficiencies in the quality of information available. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the quality of information published on YouTube regarding syndactyly in an effort to assess how best to guide patients.
Materials & Methods
YouTube was searched using the terms "syndactyly" and "webbed fingers." Each list was filtered by relevance and view count, and the top 10 videos from each category were collected. This yielded the 40 videos most likely to be encountered by those researching syndactyly. Videos were rated for quality and bias using the DISCERN instrument, and scores were compared between author types.
Of 40 videos collected, 27 were original (non-duplicate). The total number of views was greater for videos listed under "webbed fingers" when compared to "syndactyly" (2,721,416 vs. 694,048). Only 4 (14.8%) videos were authored by physicians and 3 (11.1%) included input from board-certified orthopaedic surgeons. The mean bias DISCERN score was higher (less bias) for videos authored by physicians when compared to non-physicians (3.50 vs. 1.65, p=0.026). Videos with input from board-certified orthopaedic surgeons had a higher mean quality DISCERN score than those without (3.67 vs. 1.71, p=0.005).
YouTube videos listed under the colloquial term "webbed fingers" are viewed more than those under the medical term "syndactyly." Although small in number, videos authored by physicians are less biased than those authored by non-physicians. Videos with input from board-certified orthopaedic surgeons are also scarce but are of higher quality than videos without.
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