Roles for Health Care Professionals in Addressing Patient-Held Misinformation Beyond Fact Correction*

Southwell et al.

Original English article published in the American Journal of Public Health:

[Extract] Most patients trust their health care professionals, but many also turn to sources outside of the examination room for medical information. Although many resources provide accurate information (e.g., government health agencies, professional organizations, and patient advocacy groups), not all information that patients find is accurate. Patients may encounter medical misinformation from a variety of online sources, which can have important health consequences.

Health care providers can play a critical role in addressing medical misinformation but have not yet had the opportunity to address medical misinformation fully. (Certain disciplines have made progress, such as pediatricians in mitigating vaccine misinformation.) Effectively addressing misinformation requires more than attempts to simply discredit misperceptions. Encountering patient-held misinformation offers an opportunity for clinicians to learn about patient values, preferences, comprehension, and information diets. Systematically training health care professionals to address patient-held misinformation with empathy and curiosity, acknowledging time and resource constraints, will be a crucial contribution toward future mitigation of medical misinformation.[...]

Article's language
American Journal of Public Health