WHO/Europe examines online health information quality cooperation 2023


The WHO Office on Quality of Care and Patient Safety in Athens and YouTube Health hosted a workshop in Berlin to improve online health information and assist Member States’ efforts. This collaboration promotes health literacy and makes high-quality health information broadly available.

“We are very much looking forward to working together for a world where people can access the health information they need online without having to guess its accuracy,” said Dr. Natasha Azzopardi-Muscat, Director of WHO/Europe’s Division of Country Health Policies and Systems, at the workshop.

Digital health platforms

The COVID-19 epidemic highlighted the significance of credible health information and the dangers of misinformation and deception on internet media. People look for symptoms and medical advice online, hence a lot of WHO European Region consultations happen online. 7% of online searches are health-related, with 4 billion COVID-19 results.

YouTube has over 110 billion health problem video views in 2021 and is aiming to improve health content to help users find trustworthy answers. “People use platforms like YouTube to seek answers to questions, such as how do I live with breast cancer or how do I take care of myself,” said YouTube Health Clinical Lead Dr. Nira Goren. More people are using online platforms to share personal tales, relieve acute discomfort, and develop a community to reduce loneliness.

However, erroneous or misleading internet health information can be dangerous. A WHO review found that infodemics and misinformation harm health behaviors. Smoking, drinking, poor diet, and inactivity can lead to life-altering and sometimes deadly noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer and diabetes.

High-quality internet health information empowers health.

High-quality health information empowers people to manage their health, make educated treatment decisions, and enhance their overall well-being and quality of life. As more individuals turn to the internet for medical advice, the material must be accurate, credible, easy to comprehend, and current.

Health care stakeholders in Member States must work together to achieve this. It demands comprehensive relationships between patients, health care providers, ministries, nonprofit groups, and major social media platforms.

“Social media platforms are crucial tools to improve and disseminate high-quality health information online, and we should work together, involving everyone. Our priority should be to actively listen to community concerns, promote risk and health expert advice, engage and empower communities to take positive action, and support health professionals and communities.

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