Counseling patients and their families around misinformation can be a difficult task. Combatting the misinformation and disinformation they've absorbed from social media or from peer groups requires patience, compassion (including understanding of patients' cultural, social, and emotional needs), in addition to being able to explain the evidence for a given treatment. Addressing concerns directly and engaging in shared decision-making helps build a relationship between physician and patient that makes it easier to educate and change perceptions. This guide provides resources and strategies for correcting misinformation and navigating difficult conversations with patients.
A series of webinars hosted by the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) explores ways to identify and correct medical misinformation from Wikipedia, social media, and more. Speakers discuss various aspects of online health misinformation, how to identify it, and how to help curb its spread.
Correction of Health Misinformation on Social Media - This presentation covers research on the correction of misinformation on social media. It also discusses misinformation on social media in general, how and why to correct it, and best practices for doing so. September 2020.
Identifying and Combating Health Misinformation: Health and Medical Information on Wikipedia - This webinar gives special attention to health and medical information articles, fringe theories, and controversial topics covered in the news. You can gain an insiders’ perspective on the editorial process of Wikipedia to confidently evaluate the quality of health and medical information articles and content on the popular free online encyclopedia. October 2020.
Addressing Health Misinformation at the Scale of the Internet - In this session, we will focus on the unique role that health practitioners, experts and library systems can play in responding to related challenges. March 2021.
Misinformation uses emotion, values, and narrative to spread. While citing evidence-based studies is crucial, engaging in narrative helps build a relationship with the patient and may make it easier to dispel health myths. Narrative Medicine encourages patients to tell the story of their health with the idea that "receiving patients’ stories helps to build empathy in physicians and, in turn, improves the quality of care" (Wong, 2020).
Graphic Medicine is a form of narrative medicine that offers both healthcare providers and patients (of all ages) new ways to view the medical experience through comics. Dr. Ian Stewart, who coined the phrase, says that "the discipline could include graphic memoirs of illness, educational comics for both students and patients, academic papers and books, gag strips about healthcare, graphic reportage and therapeutic workshops involving comic making, as well as many other practices and source material, both fictional and non-fictional." Read more at Dr. Stewart's site, graphicmedicine.org.