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Development of Principles for Health-Related Information on Social Media: Delphi Study

HumanInsight Development of Principles for Health-Related Information on Social Media: Delphi Study

J Med Internet Res. 2022 Sep 8;24(9):e37337. doi: 10.2196/37337.


BACKGROUND: Health-related misinformation can be propagated via social media and is a threat to public health. Several quality assessment tools and principles to evaluate health-related information in the public domain exist; however, these were not designed specifically for social media.

OBJECTIVE: This study aims to develop Principles for Health-related Information on Social Media (PRHISM), which can be used to evaluate the quality of health-related social media content.

METHODS: A modified Delphi approach was used to obtain expert consensus on the principles and functions of PRHISM. Health and social media experts were recruited via Twitter, email, and snowballing. A total of 3 surveys were administered between February 2021 and May 2021. The first survey was informed by a literature review and included open-ended questions and items from existing quality assessment tools. Subsequent surveys were informed by the results of the proceeding survey. Consensus was deemed if ≥80% agreement was reached, and items with consensus were considered relevant to include in PRHISM. After the third survey, principles were finalized, and an instruction manual and scoring tool for PRHISM were developed and circulated to expert participants for final feedback.

RESULTS: A total of 34 experts consented to participate, of whom 18 (53%) responded to all 3 Delphi surveys. In total, 13 principles were considered relevant and were included in PRHISM. When the instructions and PRHISM scoring tool were circulated, no objections to the wording of the final principles were received.

CONCLUSIONS: A total of 13 quality principles were included in the PRHISM tool, along with a scoring system and implementation tool. The principles promote accessibility, transparency, provision of authoritative and evidence-based information and support for consumers' relationships with health care providers. PRHISM can be used to evaluate the quality of health-related information provided on social media. These principles may also be useful to content creators for developing high-quality health-related social media content and assist consumers in discerning high- and low-quality information.

PMID:36074544 | DOI:10.2196/37337

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