Two billion. That’s how many views health-related YouTube videos received in 2021. To that end, YouTube, the second-most visited website on earth, has partnered with the National Health Service to combat health misinformation. Part of the partnership and YouTube’s efforts is to create a “Health Shelf” that users can access for health-related content.
On a freezing cold Wednesday in January 2023, the YouTube Health team invited the U.K.’s leading healthcare influencers and creators to Google’s London HQ for a day of knowledge sharing and collaboration. The theme mirrored the mission of YouTube Health: “making high quality health information available to all,” which is certainly pertinent in an age of rampant ‘fake news’ that could risk dangerously inaccurate online health content.
Dr Vishaal Virani, YouTube’s head of U.K. health, led a day of panel discussions, talks and networking sessions and I took a number of key learnings:
1. People are increasingly turning to the internet as a trusted source of health information
In years past, people tended to go to their doctor first when seeking health advice or a diagnosis. But now that the internet is woven tightly into the fabric of our lives, and, let’s be honest, securing face-time with a clinician in primary care is harder than ever, most of us turn to our phones and laptops to find answers or solutions to our health-related concerns. YouTube’s data strongly supports this. In 2021 alone, 180,000 health-related videos were uploaded to the platform, and these videos were viewed an enormous two billion times. In a world in which we’re all accustomed to instant, on-demand