Wigan GP utilises digital means to tackle fake medical news

Dr Derek Adu-Sarkodie, GP and clinical lead for workforce and education at Wigan Borough Federated Healthcare, has been using YouTube as a means to tackle fake news about medical conditions and provide information for patients.

Over the past two years, Dr Derek has created more than 170 videos covering topics such as bowel cancer, liver failure and migraines, and has amassed around 1,700 subscribers on the platform to date. Each video lasts up to six minutes in order to “[explain] complex concepts in a really simple way”. When consulting with a patient, instead of passing over a leaflet for the patient to learn more about their condition, patients receive a link to the relevant video.

Explaining why certain videos are created, Dr Derek shares how a high number of patients presented with potential symptoms of bower cancer, but “since their screening samples had been negative, they didn’t believe that they could still, potentially, have bowel cancer.” The video on the condition has nearly 250,000 views on YouTube, with Dr Derek stating, “It has had such an impact, so many more people are coming to see us with the symptoms, which is the right thing to do. Treating bowel cancer early means a more successful outcome.”

Dr Derek originally launched the YouTube channel during the pandemic, when he identified that there is “a lot of misinformation out there”. He noted that patients have made comments about not taking medication because of misinformation they had seen online, leading to the realisation that he could create content tackle this and help patients. On his channel, Dr Derek states: “Teaching is my passion and I feel strongly about creating free and accessible educational resources.”

The most recent video focuses on Bell’s palsy, highlighting symptoms, treatment options and “how you can reduce your chances of complications”:

In other news around communicating with patients, we shared now NHS North Central London ICB and the Islington GP Federation are trialling an AI solution utilising WhatsApp for cervical cancer screening appointments, with the aim of increasing uptake in cervical cancer screening particularly amongst underserved populations.

On patient education, we also previously covered an update from Bradford Teaching Hospitals on its Virtual Royal Infirmary Programme, which focuses on delivering digital patient education tools across a range of specialties including paediatric surgery and fracture care.