Association for Healthcare Social Media
Association for Healthcare Social Media
Source/Disclosures
Source:

Bautista JR. Strategies Utilized by Healthcare Professionals to Counteract Health Misinformation on Social Media. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Healio Gastroenterology could not confirm Bautista’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
July 28, 2020
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Health care professionals prefer public priming to counteract misinformation on social media

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Bautista JR. Strategies Utilized by Healthcare Professionals to Counteract Health Misinformation on Social Media. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: Healio Gastroenterology could not confirm Bautista’s relevant financial disclosures at the time of publication.
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Health care professionals have found different strategies to counteract health misinformation on social media platforms, most using public priming.

“I really appreciated that people actually responded to their social media accounts,” John Robert Bautista, RN, MPH, PhD, from The University of Texas at Austin, said during his presentation at the Association of Health Care Social Media meeting. “I sent messages, email and direct messages to social media profiles of doctors and registered nurses. I was social media hopping and one referral led to another.”

Between January 2020 and March 2020, Bautista interviewed 30 U.S. based health care professionals including 15 medical doctors and 15 registered nurses recruited through purposive and snowball sampling.

He contacted interviewees either through mobile phone calls or voice chat such as Skype or Zoom. Interviews were recorded per protocol that was approved by the University institutional review board. NVivo 12 using a phenomenological approach to thematic analysis was used to evaluate the interview transcripts.

“Most [health care professionals] have a Twitter,” Bautista said. “It is important to emphasize that Twitter is the de facto social networking site for the majority of health care professionals. The number one topic is vaccine and then diet and cancer treatment. There were some details about COVID-19 transmission.”

Bautista found that apart from Twitter, most heath care professionals used Facebook. Other social media platforms used included Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, TikTok, Snapchat and Doximity.

Strategies used to counteract health misinformation included public rebuttal or private rebuttal, public priming or private priming.

Bautista noted based on the interviews, health care professionals mostly engage in public priming and in some instances, public rebuttal.

Public priming is when health care professionals publicly tweet about misinformation and tweet correct facts with evidence. They do not debate but people can interact with the posts.

“Priming is a softer approach while rebuttal is a more active and direct approach that may lead to confrontation,” Bautista said. “The study suggests that if you can do priming, do it if you are uncomfortable with rebuttal. Future research is needed to determine the extent of these strategies and how are their utilized in terms of prevalence. The next thing is to provide quantitative basis and determine what type of counteracting would be effective in reducing beliefs and misinformation among the public.”