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Analysis of YouTube as a Source of Information for Diabetic Foot Care

Peter E. Smith Department of Podiatry, Reading Hospital, King of Prussia, PA. Dr. Smith is now with the Department of Orthopedics and Podiatry, General Leonard Wood Army Community Hospital, Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

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James McGuire Department of Podiatry, Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine, Philadelphia, PA.

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Michael Falci Department of Podiatry, Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA.

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Dilli Ram Poudel Department of Podiatry, Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA.

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Richard Kaufman Department of Podiatry, Hahnemann University Hospital, Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Kaufman is now with Ankle and Foot Centers of Georgia, Alpharetta, GA.

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Mary Ann Patterson Department of Podiatry, Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA.

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Benjamin Pelleschi Department of Podiatry, Reading Hospital, West Reading, PA.

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Esther Shin Department of Podiatry, Mercy Health System, Conshohocken, PA.

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Background:

Increasing amounts of diabetes-focused content is being posted to YouTube with little regulation as to the quality of the content. Diabetic education has been shown to reduce the risk of ulceration and amputation. YouTube is a frequently visited site for instructional and demonstrational videos posted by individuals, advertisers, companies, and health-care organizations. We sought to evaluate the usefulness of diabetic foot care video information on YouTube.

Methods:

YouTube was queried using the keyword phrase diabetic foot care. Original videos in English, with audio, less than 10 min long within the first 100 video results were evaluated. Two reviewers classified each video as useful or nonuseful/misleading. A 14-point usefulness criteria checklist was used to further categorize videos as most useful, somewhat useful, or nonuseful/misleading. Video sources were categorized by user type, and additional video metrics were collected.

Results:

Of 87 included videos, 56 (64.4%), were classified as useful and 31 (35.6%) as nonuseful/misleading. A significant difference in the mean length of useful videos vs nonuseful/misleading videos was observed (3.33 versus 1.73 min; P < .0001). There was no significant difference in terms of popularity metrics (likes, views, subscriptions, etc) between useful and nonuseful/misleading videos.

Conclusions:

This study demonstrates that although most diabetic foot care videos on YouTube are useful, many are still nonuseful/misleading. More concerning is the lack of difference in popularity between useful and nonuseful videos. Podiatric physicians should alert patients to possibly misleading information and offer a curated list of videos.

Corresponding author: Peter E. Smith, DPM, AACFAS, FAPWHc, 118 Liberty Parkway A07, St. Robert, Missouri 65584. (E-mail: peter.elia.smith@gmail.com)