Last year, as vaccine skepticism flew around the internet, YouTube rolled out new features to ensure its community could access useful health advice. A year later, medical misinformation is still rampant, and the Google-owned platform is doubling down on its pledge to provide accurate results. The health products that arrived on YouTube in 2021 are now available to “certain categories of healthcare professionals and health information providers,” such as doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals.
The assets in question include informative panels that add context to medical videos, as well as shelves of trusted content that will appear as results for relevant searches. Those tools were previously limited to a select group of partners, including educational institutions, public health departments, hospitals, and government entities. Now, YouTube is asking individuals to apply if they want to bring factual features to their own channels.
Applicants must be licensed medical professionals who are “in good standing with YouTube.” Among other requirements, potential partners must have accrued 2,000 hours of watch time over a one-year period.
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The blog post announcing this decision was written by Dr. Garth Graham, who came on as YouTube’s Global Head of Healthcare last year. “This is a big step towards helping people more easily find and connect with content that comes from the extraordinary community of healthcare creators on YouTube – the smart, dedicated and creative folks who are transforming the ways that we share medical information,” Graham wrote. “Whether you have busted medical myths with Doctor Mike, learned about disease processes from Osmosis, found ways to cope with anxiety with Dr. Ali Mattu, or better understood fertility from Dr. Natalie Crawford, there are communities on YouTube that are helping people become more informed, engaged and empowered about their health.”
Despite YouTube’s corporate proclivities, its platform is still rife with inaccurate details about common conditions and their cures. By extending its health products, it is continuing its fight against medical misinformation. Earlier this year, it added patient testimonials to some results, so that searchers can witness “personal, authentic lived experience” rather than the latest conspiracy theory.
For now, the expansion of YouTube’s health products is limited to the U.S. Doctors, nurses, and mental health professionals in other countries will be able to apply at a later date.