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Reliability and quality of online patient education videos for lateral lumbar interbody fusion

Michael D. White, Kristy Latour, Martina Giordano, Tavis Taylor, and Nitin Agarwal

OBJECTIVE

There is an increasing trend among patients and their families to seek medical knowledge on the internet. Patients undergoing surgical interventions, including lateral lumbar interbody fusion (LLIF), often rely on online videos as a first source of knowledge to familiarize themselves with the procedure. In this study the authors sought to investigate the reliability and quality of LLIF-related online videos.

METHODS

In December 2018, the authors searched the YouTube platform using 3 search terms: lateral lumbar interbody fusion, LLIF surgery, and LLIF. The relevance-based ranking search option was used, and results from the first 3 pages were investigated. Only videos from universities, hospitals, and academic associations were included for final evaluation. By means of the DISCERN instrument, a validated measure of reliability and quality for online patient education resources, 3 authors of the present study independently evaluated the quality of information.

RESULTS

In total, 296 videos were identified by using the 3 search terms. Ten videos met inclusion criteria and were further evaluated. The average (± SD) DISCERN video quality assessment score for these 10 videos was 3.42 ± 0.16. Two videos (20%) had an average score above 4, corresponding to a high-quality source of information. Of the remaining 8 videos, 6 (60%) scored moderately, in the range of 3–4, indicating that the publication is reliable but important information is missing. The final 2 videos (20%) had a low average score (2 or below), indicating that they are unlikely to be of any benefit and should not be used. Videos with intraoperative clips were significantly more popular, as indicated by the numbers of likes and views (p = 0.01). There was no correlation between video popularity and DISCERN score (p = 0.104). In August 2019, the total number of views for the 10 videos in the final analysis was 537,785.

CONCLUSIONS

The findings of this study demonstrate that patients who seek to access information about LLIF by using the YouTube platform will be presented with an overall moderate quality of educational content on this procedure. Moreover, compared with videos that provide patient information on treatments used in other medical fields, videos providing information on LLIF surgery are still exiguous. In view of the increasing trend to seek medical knowledge on the YouTube platform, and in order to support and optimize patient education on LLIF surgery, the authors encourage academic neurosurgery institutions in the United States and worldwide to implement the release of reliable video educational content.

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Patient perception of scoliosis correction surgery on Instagram

Nitin Agarwal, Amaan Rahman, Rachel Jacobs, Tavis Taylor, Nallammai Muthiah, Nima Alan, Alp Ozpinar, Daryl Fields, and David Kojo Hamilton

OBJECTIVE

Patient feedback surveys provide important insight into patient outcomes, satisfaction, and perioperative needs. Recent critiques have questioned provider-initiated surveys and their capacity to accurately gauge patient perspectives due to intrinsic biases created by question framing. In this study, the authors sought to evaluate provider-independent, patient-controlled social media Instagram posts in order to better understand the patient experience following scoliosis correction surgery.

METHODS

Twitter and Instagram were queried for posts with two tagged indicators, #scoliosissurgery or @scoliosissurgery, resulting in no relevant Twitter posts and 25,000 Instagram posts. Of the initial search, 24,500 Instagram posts that did not directly involve the patient’s own experience were eliminated. Posts were analyzed and coded for the following criteria: the gender of the patient, preoperative or postoperative timing discussed in the post, and classified themes related to the patient’s experiences with scoliosis correction surgery.

RESULTS

Females made 87.6% of the Instagram posts about their experience following scoliosis correction surgery. The initial postoperative stage of surgery was mentioned in 7.6% of Instagram posts. The most common theme on Instagram involved offering or seeking online support from other patients, which constituted 85.2% of all posts. Other common themes included concern about the surgical scar (31.8%), discussing the results of treatment (28.8%), and relief regarding results (21.2%).

CONCLUSIONS

Social media provided a platform to analyze unprompted feedback from patients. Patients were most concerned with their scoliosis correction surgery in the period of time 2 weeks or more after surgery. Themes that were most commonly found on Instagram posts were offering or seeking online support from other patients and concern about the surgical scar. Patient-controlled social media platforms, like Instagram, may provide a useful mechanism for healthcare providers to understand the patient experience following scoliosis correction surgery. Such platforms may help in evaluating postoperative satisfaction and improving postoperative quality of care.