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ICYou: YouTube for Health?

There’s just something about video. It is more compelling than text, more personal than still images… or is it? Can you believe that more than ten hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute? More than 100 million U.S. viewers watched YouTube videos last January. At least 126 U.S. hospitals are using YouTube for marketing and patient education. Still, it can be challenging for the average searcher to find health information, not to mention reliable health information, amongst the millions of videos on YouTube.

Enter ICYou,  an online community for health videos and only health videos.

ICYou is produced by Benefitfocus, a leading provider of employee benefit software. The thousands of videos on ICYou are handily organized by major category: Diseases & Conditions, Health & Wellness, Treatments & Procedures, Medical Fields, and Politics & Policy. They are browsable by health topic, popular search, and tag. Search results can be filtered by source: Doctors & Experts, Patients & People, and News Reports.

Many of the videos are produced in-house by Benefitfocus Media, but other people and organizations are creating channels for their content. For example:

ICYou encourages patients to record and share their experiences with healthcare. This makes ICYou a promising portal for online patient support communities.

Four physicians are listed as official contributors, but as with YouTube, anyone can create an account and submit a video. It is not clear to me if or how the producers of ICYou assess the quality of videos uploaded by others, how they verify that users really are who they claim to be, and what qualifies someone to be an expert. There is a lot of great content in ICYou, but searchers should be on their guard about evaluating the videos they find according to accuracy, authority, bias, currency, and coverage. See the MedlinePlus Guide to Healthy Web Surfing for more information.

Speaking of MedlinePlus, don’t forget this consumer health website as a source for hundreds of videos of surgical procedures and more than 165 interactive patient tutorials, all pre-evaluated by health professionals and medical librarians.

More About ICYou:

ICYou, Do You See Me? – by Max Anderson of NN/LM GMR

ICYou: How Social Media is the New Resource for Online Health Information – by Prena Mona Khanna, MD, MPH, one of ICYou’s official contributors

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