Both doctors and patients can benefit through communication when using technology like video blogs.
Online patient video journals or blogs–called vlogs–chronicling the good, the bad and the ugly of a specific medical condition can help both physicians and their patients, says Regenstrief Institute and Indiana University Center for Health Services and Outcomes Research investigator Joy L. Lee, PhD, corresponding author of “Seeing is Engaging: Vlogs as a Tool for Patient Engagement,” a commentary published online ahead of print in the peer-reviewed journal The Patient.
Accessible to viewers when and where they wish to watch, online videos are a popular platform for conveying knowledge and advice in numerous areas including current events, home improvement, cooking, travel and increasingly–through vlogs–health.
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“It is not always easy for physicians to engage patients in their own care,” said Dr. Lee. “Vlogs may be uniquely suited to overcome barriers to patient engagement for individuals with chronic illnesses, especially those under 50 who increasingly reach out to the internet in so many aspects of their lives. Given the potential impact of online information, physicians and other clinicians should consider familiarizing themselves with key vloggers who can provide a window into a disease.”
According to a 2015 Nielsen study, YouTube reaches more 18- to 49-year-olds in America than any U.S. broadcast or cable network, with two-thirds of YouTube viewers using mobile devices. The Pew Center reports that three quarters of Americans who go online view videos.
“Physicians should consider vlogs as one more tool that they can provide their patients and help them navigate this important resource,” said Dr. Lee, who is a health services researcher focused on patient-physician communication. “And patients should consider vlogs as dynamic sources of information that can help them cope with their disease experience and ask better questions of their medical team.”