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UPJ INSIGHT TikTok and YouTube Videos on Overactive Bladder Exhibit Poor Quality and Diversity

By: Jenna Kanner, BS, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Suneet Waghmarae, BA, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore; Amy Nemirovsky, MD, MS, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore; Shu Wang, MD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore; Stacy Loeb, MD, MSc, PhD (hon), New York University, New York, Manhattan Veterans Affairs Medical Center, New York, New York; Rena Malik, MD, University of Maryland Medical Center, Baltimore | Posted on: 19 Sep 2023

Kanner J, Waghmarae S, Nemirovsky A, Wang S, Loeb S, Malik R. TikTok and YouTube videos on overactive bladder exhibit poor quality and diversity. Urol Pract. 2023;10(5):493-500.

Study Need and Importance

Social media is commonly used to acquire health care information, and is being increasingly used by health care professionals, including urologists, to inform patients about medical conditions and treatment. Overactive bladder (OAB) is a common condition in the United States that impacts quality of life, presenting with urgency, frequency, or nocturia, with or without incontinence. There is little research on the quality, actionability, and understandability of information on social media regarding OAB.

What We Found

Eighty-eight percent of TikTok videos and 60% of YouTube videos on OAB had a PEMAT (Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool) actionability score below 75%, suggesting poor ability for consumers to use information presented in videos. Both TikTok and YouTube videos scored poorly on PEMAT understandability, defined as consumers with diverse backgrounds and health literacy being able to explain concepts in materials. Further, 98% of TikTok videos and 65% of YouTube videos were poor quality based on the validated DISCERN criteria for quality of consumer health information. The Table shows the wide reach of poor scoring content about OAB.

Table. Total Views of TikTok and YouTube Videos With Poor Scores on Validated Instruments for Consumer Health Information

TikTok, % (No. views) YouTube, % (No. views)
Low PEMAT actionability (<75%) 87.5 (12,929) 60 (17,971)
Low PEMAT understandability (<75%) 38.2 (14,399) 26.7 (11,688)
Poor quality (DISCERN score <3) 97.8 (16,969) 65.3 (52,655)
High misinformation (score ≥3) 22.8 (34,751) 10.6 (34,777)
Commercial bias 9.6 (40,019) 18.6 (23,284)
Abbreviations: PEMAT, Patient Education Materials Assessment Tool.


Our study was limited in that it only sampled a small portion of the wide array of content on TikTok and YouTube and did not include videos in other languages.

Interpretation for Patient Care

Social media is an important tool for patients to gather health information and to create community; however, much of the existing content about OAB falls short based on validated criteria for consumer health information. It is important that health care providers direct patients to evidence-based and understandable online content.