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

Pace L, et al. Pelvic Organ Prolapse Content on Pinterest Shows Evidence of Bias and Inconsistency with Best Practices for Treatment. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media Meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.
July 31, 2020
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Pinterest content on pelvic organ prolapse lack quality, potentially biased

Source/Disclosures
Source:

Pace L, et al. Pelvic Organ Prolapse Content on Pinterest Shows Evidence of Bias and Inconsistency with Best Practices for Treatment. Presented at: Association for Healthcare Social Media Meeting; July 26, 2020 (virtual meeting).

Disclosures: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.
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Pinterest posts, or “pins,” discussing pelvic organ prolapse often lack quality and some may be subject to commercial bias, according to a study presented at the Association for Healthcare Social Media Meeting.

“As we all know, health-related social media searches are increasing, and whether we like it or not, social media is being used for the delivery of health information,” Lauren Pace, BA, a medical student at the University of Maryland, said during the presentation. “Social media is evolving on a minute-by-minute basis, so the information that’s being conveyed to patients is constantly changing.”

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Pinterest posts, or “pins,” discussing pelvic organ prolapse often lack quality and some may be subject to commercial bias, according to a study presented at the Association for Healthcare Social Media Meeting. Source: Adobe Stock.

She noted that despite its popularity, few studies have discussed Pinterest’s impact on the delivery of health-related information.

“What we do know is that people are already using Pinterest to share health-related information,” Pace said.

Evidence indicates that 41% of women aged 50 to 79 years in the United States experience pelvic prolapse, and Pinterest is one of the most popular social media platforms for women in this age group, according to Pace.

Pace and colleagues conducted a search for the term “pelvic organ prolapse” on Pinterest and assessed the first 100 pins in the results, which reached more than 5 million followers.

The researchers collected information on each pin and used validated tools to determine the quality, understandability and actionability of the content. They also compared pin content to textbook standards and professional guidelines for care, discussion and treatment of pelvic organ prolapse and assessed commercial bias.

Among the 100 pins, researchers found that 59 were linked to blog posts related to pelvic organ prolapse.

Thirty-one pins were linked to patients with information that was determined to be moderate-high or high quality.

In terms of treatment, 79 pins discussed pelvic floor muscle training, and of those, just 29 pins were considered to contain moderate-high- or high-quality evidence.

Among the pins, Pace and colleagues found 43 that mentioned surgical repair of pelvic organ prolapse, with six pins discussing native tissue repair, four discussing biologic repair, 12 discussing mesh and 10 discussing postoperative course.

The researchers determined that 84 pins had good understandability, meaning they were fairly accessible and easy for readers to understand, regardless of their health literacy level. Fewer pins were considered to have good actionability, with 70 pins achieving good actionability, meaning that they provided patients with steps they can take for evaluation and management of pelvic organ prolapse.

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The researchers identified commercial bias in 36 pins and of those, 31 pins discussed pelvic floor muscle training.

They found that 27 pins included some level of misinformation that was not consistent with guidelines.

Pace said during the presentation that the findings beg the question of how much misinformation is too much, and how much bias is too much.”

She noted that the presence of misinformation highlights the importance of shared decision-making and counseling between physicians and these patients.

“Based on the understandability and accessibility, Pinterest does have significant potential as a patient education tool and a vehicle for dissemination of health information, specifically as it relates to prolapse but perhaps more broadly women’s health,” Pace said.

She said the lack of high-quality content is concerning, but highlights an opportunity for physicians to publish high-quality education content on pelvic organ prolapse.

“It’s important for physicians to consider patients’ social media uptake when they’re discussing and counseling about treatment options as they relate to prolapse,” Pace said. “Patients’ social media engagement may be impacting their prior knowledge or preconceptions.”