YouTube tapped to support access to accurate medical info

Mass General Brigham this week announced a partnership with YouTube to offer viewers access to credible medical information from the health system’s experts.  

The organization, along with other healthcare and research institutions, will spearhead entertaining, fact-based videos to share information about a variety of topics.

“In our increasingly digital world, the next phase in health communication is video, where health care professionals can connect with patients and answer their questions in a way that is both visual and personal,” said Dr. Garth Graham, director and global head of healthcare and public health at YouTube, in a statement.  

“YouTube, which has more than 2 billion monthly active users, has the potential to be a transformative tool for public health and can positively impact communities at scale,” Graham added.  


As rampant medical disinformation – including about the COVID-19 vaccine – has swept across the Internet, social media companies have taken steps to attempt to stem the tide. YouTube, for instance, removed more than 800,000 videos between February 2020 and March 2021 that contained coronavirus misinformation.   

Now, the platform is trying to spread accurate information instead.

In addition to partnering with organizations like Mass General Brigham and the American Public Health Association to create content, YouTube says it is amplifying credible and relevant information for U.S. viewers.  

According to a blog posted by Graham, the company will add new health source information panels on videos to help viewers identify those authoritative sources, along with health content shelves that more effectively highlight content from these sources when users search for specific health topics.  

“These context cues are aimed at helping people more easily navigate and evaluate credible health information,” explained Graham. “People will still be able to find relevant videos from a range of sources in their search results.”

According to Graham, YouTube relied on principles drafted by an expert panel convened by the National Academy of Medicine, who had been asked to consider the question of how health sources attain and maintain their authority.   

“We hope that other tech companies will also review and consider how these principles might help inform their work with their own products and platforms,” said Graham.  

“While only accredited health organizations and government entities are currently included in our health context features, we’re exploring ways to broaden eligibility and evaluate inclusion of other health sources, as well as ways to expand these features globally,” Graham added.  


Health systems have leaned on informational videos to accomplish a wide range of patient engagement goals.  

For instance, the Medical Center at Bowling Green, located in Kentucky, used patient-education TV linked to electronic health records in order to increase its HCAHPS scores.   

“Video education improves retention of information in patients with low health literacy,” said Andrea Sturm, RN, a patient educator at the center, to Healthcare IT News.  

Other systems have tapped video tools to propel end-of-life discussions or, more recently, to ensure patients are getting their second vaccine dose.  


“Our system is committed to providing credible, trusted information for our patients,” said Dr. Ravi Thadhani, chief academic officer at Mass General Brigham, in a statement about the YouTube partnership.   

“By working together with a global digital platform like YouTube, we will broaden the reach of our experts and greatly expand access to trusted health information, not just to those in our communities, but to all people around the world,” Thadhani said.

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: [email protected]
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

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