Vaccinating the Public Against Incorrect Health Information with “Knowledge Shots”
Author Vincent Waldman, PhD, is the Director of Video Production at our portfolio company, Osmosis.org.
More than 80% of American Internet users have searched for health information online, which is up from 62% in 2001. People are interested in their wellbeing and the wellbeing of their loved ones. They want to be empowered to make sound decisions when it comes to optimizing their health by, among other things, preventing, treating, and curing diseases. In the era of fluffy clickbait, sales pitches that target our base desires, influential celebrities who share dubious advice, and sensationalistic journalism, though, it can be difficult to tell what advice is based on actual evidence and what is based on getting the most social media likes. Clearly, there is a need for a reliable resource to turn to for health information.
This is where we come in. Osmosis, co-founded by a pair of Johns Hopkins medical students who recruited the former Khan Academy Health & Medicine team, has produced more than 1,000 videos explaining how the body works, what diseases do to the body, and what treatments are available. That content originally focused on explaining the pathophysiology of diseases in a way that would meet the needs of current and future health professionals. As we published this content on platforms such as YouTube, however, we learned that our videos were also being consumed by patients and caregivers with no medical training who were interested in knowing more about the diseases they were dealing with. We think that stems from our accessible visual and narrative style to help explain deep scientific concepts easily and efficiently.
Osmosis’ vision is “everyone who cares for someone will learn by Osmosis.” While we are continuing to educate current and future clinicians, we’re increasingly interested in helping people make informed decisions about their own health. To this end, we recently launched a series called Osmosis Knowledge Shots designed to be accessible by the general public. Since October 2018, we have created a new Knowledge Shot each week, and the series has already been viewed 77,000 times with more than 2,400 likes and 1,860 shares.
We’ve covered highly topical areas, including:
Going forward, we want to increase health literacy among the general public by using our strengths to provide easy-to-follow explanations of the science underpinning the headlines of the day — like our video explaining the use of CRISPR to genetically modify humans — as well as illuminating topics that people are perennially interested in, such as which over-the-counter analgesics they should use and when, or what the evidence actually says about specific vitamins. We will create content on our own and alongside noted medical organizations.
We welcome feedback from consumers interested in health as well as medical professionals. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to contact us at email@example.com.
Let’s help the world learn how to be healthier together!