People Power or Pester Power

Epub: Mazanderani F, O’Neill B, Powell J. “People power” or “pester power”? YouTube as a forum for the generation of evidence and patient advocacy. Patient Educ Couns. 2013 doi:pii: S0738-3991(13)00231-0. 

OBJECTIVE: Venoplasty has been proposed, alongside the theory of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency (CCSVI), as a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). Despite concerns about its efficacy and safety, thousands of patients have undergone the procedure. This paper analyses YouTube videos where patients have shared their treatment experiences.

METHODS: Content analysis on the 100 most viewed videos from over 4000 identified in a search for ‘CCSVI’, and qualitative thematic analysis on popular ‘channels’ demonstrating patients’ experiences.

RESULTS: Videos adopt an overwhelmingly positive stance towards CCSVI; many were uploaded by patients and present pre- and/or post-treatment experiences. Patients demonstrate rather than merely describe their symptoms, performing tests on themselves before and after treatment to quantify improvement. Videos combine medical terminology and tests with personal experiences of living with MS.

CONCLUSION: Social media technologies provide patients with novel opportunities for advocating for particular treatments; generating alternative forms of ‘evidence’ built on a hybrid of personal experience and medical knowledge.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Healthcare practitioners need to engage with new digital forms of content, including online social media. Instead of disregarding sources not considered ‘evidence-based’, practitioners should enhance their understanding of what ‘experiential-evidence’ is deemed significant to patients, particularly in contested areas of healthcare.



Videos are very compelling and pictures can say a thousand words

however for every positive testimony how many negative testimonies could there be? Although people not getting benefit probably have less incentive to post.

How many adverts are on youtube? Quiet a few.

If the effects are so startling then the trials really will have no problem finding a positive effect………..

However we have had one where it was not indicated that it was not that impressive, will others follow. If there is benefit how long does it last?  Hopefully we will find out soon.

However, I can tell you this….the regulators are not going to pay much attention to Youtube…they have trouble even accepting class I clinical trial data.

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