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Systematic Assessment of the Quality and Comprehensibility of YouTube Content on Ulnar Collateral Ligament Injury and Management.

BACKGROUND: Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) reconstruction has received a unique level of attention in the press and social media. There has also been an increasing use of the internet by patients to seek medical information. Concern exists regarding the quality and comprehensibility of online information when used for patient education.

PURPOSE: To evaluate the quality and comprehensibility of the most-viewed YouTube videos related to the diagnosis and management of UCL injuries. Based on our new evidence-based scoring rubrics, we hypothesized that the quality and comprehensibility of these videos would be poor.

STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.

METHODS: The YouTube platform was searched on September 7, 2021, with the terms "UCL injury," "ulnar collateral ligament injury," "UCL surgery," "ulnar collateral ligament surgery," and "Tommy John surgery," and the 50 most-viewed videos from each search were compiled, yielding 250 videos. After removal of duplicates and application of exclusion criteria, the 100 most-viewed videos remained. Basic attributes, including duration of video and number of views, were recorded. Each video was then analyzed by 2 independent reviewers and evaluated for 4 key parameters (quality of diagnostic content [QAR-D], quality of treatment content [QAR-T], presence of inaccurate information, and comprehensibility) and graded on a novel scale from 1 to 4 (4 being the most appropriate for patient education).

RESULTS: The mean QAR-D was 4.83 ± 3.41 (fair quality), and the mean QAR-T was 2.76 ± 3.26 (poor quality). Physician-led educational videos had both the highest mean QAR-D (6.37) and the highest mean QAR-T (4.34). No correlation was observed between video quality and views/likes. A total of 12 videos included ≥1 inaccuracy. The mean comprehensibility score was 2.66 ± 1.12, with 39 videos falling below the acceptable comprehensibility threshold (score <3).

CONCLUSION: The overall quality of UCL injury-related YouTube content was low. In addition, the absence of correlation between video quality and views/likes suggests that patients are not preferentially utilizing the limited high-quality content that does exist on the YouTube platform. In addition, inaccurate videos were prevalent (12%), and almost half of all videos were deemed inappropriate for patient education in terms of comprehensibility, as defined by our comprehensibility parameter.

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