Social Media and Healthcare
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Social Media and Healthcare
Articles and Discussions on the  intersection of Social Media and Healthcare. Relevant to Healthcare Practitioners, Pharma', Insurance, Clinicians, Labs, Health IT Vendors, Health Marketeers, Health Policy Makers, Hospital Administrators.
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Community Mitigation of COVID-19 and Portrayal of Testing on TikTok

Community Mitigation of COVID-19 and Portrayal of Testing on TikTok | Social Media and Healthcare |

Social media is a popular source of information about health, including COVID-19 and testing information. One of the most popular communication channels used by adolescents and young adults who search for health information is TikTok—an emerging social media platform.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to describe TikTok videos related to COVID-19 testing.


Methods: The hashtag #covidtesting was searched, and the first 100 videos were included in the study sample. At the time the sample was drawn, these 100 videos garnered more than 50% of the views for all videos cataloged under the hashtag #covidtesting.


The content characteristics that were coded included mentions, displays, or suggestions of anxiety, COVID-19 symptoms, quarantine, types of tests, results of test, and disgust/unpleasantness. Additional data that were coded included the number and percentage of views, likes, and comments and the use of music, dance, and humor.


Results: The 100 videos garnered more than 103 million views; 111,000 comments; and over 12.8 million likes. Even though only 44 videos mentioned or suggested disgust/unpleasantness and 44 mentioned or suggested anxiety, those that portrayed tests as disgusting/unpleasant garnered over 70% of the total cumulative number of views (73,479,400/103,071,900, 71.29%) and likes (9,354,691/12,872,505, 72.67%), and those that mentioned or suggested anxiety attracted about 60% of the total cumulative number of views (61,423,500/103,071,900, 59.59%) and more than 8 million likes (8,339,598/12,872,505, 64.79%). Independent one-tailed t tests (α=.05) revealed that videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 testing was disgusting/unpleasant were associated with receiving a higher number of views and likes.



Conclusions: Our finding of an association between TikTok videos that mentioned or suggested that COVID-19 tests were disgusting/unpleasant and these videos’ propensity to garner views and likes is of concern. There is a need for public health agencies to recognize and address connotations of COVID-19 testing on social media.


read the study report at


nrip's insight:

One of the biggest learning from this pandemic for everyone associated with public health and disaster response is the need to communicate EFFECTIVELY . We cannot defeat disinformation without making the correct information reach the audience as well as get through to them in a manner they appreciate. That includes investing time and energy on creating effective (read correct yet simple to absorb) content of many different types and spreading them repeatedly across all possibly available channels where the audience expects to find them

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TikTok is now being used to combat health misinformation and it's working!

TikTok is now being used to combat health misinformation and it's working! | Social Media and Healthcare |

Dr. Rose Marie Leslie is hoping to reach teens with a message about the dangers of e-cigarettes. So she’s started posting regularly on TikTok, the popular short video app, and has collected a large following.


Leslie, who goes by @DrLeslie and is a family medicine doctor at the University of Minnesota Medical School, has amassed more than 300,000 followers on the platform in recent months. Most of her TikTok videos offer insights on health issues that impact teens, ranging from how to talk to doctors about birth control to why it’s a bad idea for a group of friends to share a lollipop.


She’s best known for getting real about vaping and vaping-related illness. The issue is more urgent than ever for many parents, with surveys showing that vape use at an all-time high among teens amid an outbreak of a life-threatening vaping illness. 


Part of the problem, according to medical experts, is the teens aren’t aware of the risks because public health organizations aren’t communicating with them on the platforms they use.


That’s where Leslie comes in.


Leslie doesn’t talk down to the viewer, but instead shows side-by-side images of a vaping-related lung injury and a normal lung biopsy, and discusses the root causes.


In one video, she shows her followers what vaping lung illness really looks like under a microscope. “That is terrifying,” she says in the video.


Leslie says she gets a lot of messages from teens who have stopped vaping because they watched one of her videos.


“I expected it as a primary-care doctor who’s often talking to teens about the health risks associated with something like vaping that’s perceived as cool,” she said.


Greater engagement on TikTok than other platforms


Leslie is just one of the doctors who have recently started popping up on TikTok. Far more physicians are on Twitter and Instagram, which are more popular with older generations.


But those who have taken the TikToK plunge say they are experiencing far greater engagement on content there than on other social media platforms.


Jefferson Health’s Dr. Austin Chiang, one of the most active physicians on social media, recently joined TikTok after reading about how it’s taking off. 


Chiang uses TikTok primarily as a platform to talk to other young doctors about issues that matter to them, like the cost of medical education or the sacrifice of giving up their 20s to spend nights and weekends in the hospital.


Chiang says he already sees the most engagement on TikTok, which is used by more than 700 million people daily, according to its owner ByteDance.


Chiang and Leslie are also using TikTok to combat health misinformation.


“I’ve heard the criticism that doctors and other medical professionals on social media are somehow less credible, or won’t be taken as seriously by their peers,” said Sherry Pagoto, a behavioral scientist and professor at the Department of Allied Health Sciences at the University of Connecticut. “But I think that school of thought is going to be a thing of the past.”


Pagoto notes that medical experts need to meet teens where they are, rather than sticking to the older methods of advertising on television or Facebook.


“It would be great for public health organizations to follow the lead of these medical professionals on TikTok,” she said.


Read More:

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