Objective Validation of YouTube™ Educational Videos for the Instruction of Regional Anesthesia Nerve Blocks

A Novel Approach

George L. Tewfik; Adam N. Work; Steven M. Shulman; Patrick Discepola


BMC Anesthesiol. 2020;20(168) 

In This Article


As one of the most popular open source video content websites available today, YouTube has expanded from being a primarily entertainment website to an instrument for education and information sharing.[1–4] Numerous medical procedures and clinical skills instructional videos can be found quickly, changing the landscape of medical education.[2,4] Students and providers alike are turning to social media platforms to augment classroom learning and refresh clinical skills.[3,4] While access to these videos is nearly instantaneous, every piece of content must be used with the awareness that it is often neither peer reviewed nor certified for accuracy.[2–4] However, non-peer reviewed periodicals, websites, conferences and social media have been noted to be sources some healthcare professionals turn to prior to seeking out peer-reviewed material.[2] Nonetheless, many YouTube videos providing misinformation have been reported, leading to potential dangers to patients, and compromising providers' credibility if used as the sole source of information.[1,5,6]

Previous studies have analyzed instructional content for various specialties, the majority of which used subject matter experts. These are experts in "content analysis", to grade the videos' content based on predefined criteria.[7–11] Most concluded that, while convenient, YouTube content lacked the quality required to safely guide a provider through a specific procedure. Few studies have evaluated the value of regional anesthesia procedures posted to YouTube.[9–11]

While others have evaluated large amounts of content posted to YouTube, we asserted that users are most apt to use the first few videos they come across, mostly corresponding to the "top hits," or most viewed. Therefore, our aim was to design a system to objectively evaluate the 5 most viewed instructional videos for some of the most commonly performed regional anesthesia nerve block procedures.