YouTube as a patient-information source for root canal treatment
International Endodontic Journal
To assess the content and completeness of Youtube™ as an information source for patients undergoing root canal treatment procedures.
YouTube™ (https://www.youtube.com/) was searched for information using three relevant treatment search-terms (‘endodontics’, ‘root canal’, ‘root canal treatment’). After exclusions (language, no audio, >15mins, duplicates), 20 videos per search-term were selected. General video assessment included duration, ownership, views, age, likes/dislikes, target-audience and video/audio quality, while content was analyzed under 6 categories (‘aetiology’, ‘anatomy’, ‘symptoms’, ‘procedure’, ‘postoperative course’, ‘prognosis’). Content was scored for completeness-level and statistically analyzed using ANOVA and post hoc Tukey's test (p<0 .05="" p="">0>
To obtain 60 acceptable videos, 124 were assessed. Depending on the search-term employed the video content and ownership differed markedly. There was wide variation in both the number of video views and ‘likes/dislikes’. The average video age was 788 days. In total 46% of videos were ‘posted’ by a dentist/specialist source; however, this was search-term specific rising to 70% of uploads for the search ‘endodontic’, while laypersons contributed 18% of uploads for the search ‘root canal treatment’. Every video lacked content in the designated 6 categories, although ‘procedure’ details were covered more frequently and in better detail than other categories. Videos posted by dental professional (p=0.046) and commercial sources (p=0.009) were significantly more complete than videos posted by laypeople.
YouTube™ videos for endodontic search-terms varied significantly by source and content and were generally incomplete. The danger of patient reliance on YouTube™ is highlighted, as is the need for endodontic professionals to play an active role in directing patients towards alternative high-quality information sources.