- Why Healthcare Marketers and Content Writers Should Beware of Medical Misinformation
- Google will take action against healthcare marketers who spread misinformation
- How Healthcare Marketers can Accurately Gather Information in the Digital Age
The U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek H. Murthy, published a Surgeon General’s Advisory in 2021 on the dangers of fitness inaccurate information related to the COVID-19 epidemic. What is special about this advice? Those warnings are often only issued when there are serious public health concerns over our diet, alcohol consumption, or smoking habits.
However, inaccurate information on this scale is nothing new. The opioid epidemic was the US’s previous major public health concern before COVID-19. And in the center emerged Purdue Pharma, a now-famous independent pharmaceutical company that produced OxyContin.
The company claimed that OxyContin wasn’t at all addictive and that less than 1% of users had a “tolerance” issue, despite the fact that it was generally known that pills similar to OxyContin were highly addictive. Purdue Pharma went to great measures to spread false information, including launching a multifaceted advertising campaign to quell concerns from the scientific community about the hazards.
What has this false information caused? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there will be hundreds of thousands of deaths and hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damage (CDC). One of the clearest illustrations of how inaccurate information about health and medicine can really kill people. And ruin lives is the Purdue Pharma scandal.
Why Healthcare Marketers and Content Writers Should Beware of Medical Misinformation
The opioid crisis serves as an example of how false information and misinformation may cause a public health emergency. But what specific risks do they provide to content marketers and healthcare professionals? Starting with losing credibility through, in extreme circumstances, financial. And maybe legal culpability, spreading false information, and disinformation in a marketing effort can have a variety of negative effects.
Legislators are working overtime to come up with answers and establish accountability as the amount of health-related disinformation keeps growing and consumer confidence in institutions declines. For instance, the Health Disinformation Act of 2021, sponsored by Senators Amy Klobuchar and Ben Luján last year, aims to hold Facebook and YouTube responsible for facilitating the spread of health misinformation. The law modifies Section 230, which mostly exempted social media and other digital platforms from responsibility for the information that users upload to and distribute on them.
Physicians and other healthcare professionals who spread false information online are being penalized by regulators. Last year the Federation of State Medical Boards issued a statement. Cautioning that medical practitioners who post false material online run the possibility of having their licenses revoked. Additionally, by posting bogus news or inadequately reviewed medical information on their behalf, marketers that directly represent doctors and healthcare professionals run the risk of subjecting their clients to criticism (or worse).
Google will take action against healthcare marketers who spread misinformation
Internet behemoths like Facebook and Google have resisted accepting accountability for the information that their users upload. But pressure from customers and politicians is driving them to change. Google said in late 2021 that it would ban advertising that propagated lies and misinformation about climate change. Strangely enough, customer concerns drove Google to take action against climate disinformation on their advertising platform. It should come as no surprise that publishers and marketers object to deceptive or inaccurate advertisements. That appears alongside their articles since they make everyone appear negative.
Even if you unintentionally spread false information by citing a fabricated scientific paper. It can undermine customer confidence and damage your brand’s credibility. Consumer trust is at an all-time low across all information channels, including conventional news media, social media, search engines, and owned media, according to data from the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer. Consumers feel that almost everyone intentionally spreads false information and deceptive material, from governments to commercial groups, which makes the situation worse.
Successful content marketing is fundamentally about developing and preserving top-notch client connections. Sharing questionable information or false information in a blog post, advertisement, or social media post might hinder a content marketer’s future capacity to successfully manage campaigns across social media platforms and ad networks. Even the most effective marketing initiatives will require life support if a brand’s connection with its customers is marred by distrust.
How Healthcare Marketers can Accurately Gather Information in the Digital Age
Despite having unlimited access to information at our fingertips, ensuring that it is correct can be difficult owing to the prevalence and sneakiness of false information. Finding the proverbial needle in a haystack may be likened to the process of separating reality from fiction. However, there are a few actions that companies and marketers may take to guarantee that health-related material is truthful and adheres to moral standards.
1. Recognize the difference between false and false information.
Always keep in mind that everything is based on intent, including what you knew and when you know it. When someone receives inaccurate or misleading information, they are not aware of it. Disinformation is the purposeful dissemination of false or misleading information in order to influence public opinion, cause misunderstanding, or promote the sale of goods or services.
2. Consider your connection choices.
Are you referring to real research from the New England Journal of Medicine or the American Medical Association? Or are you citing a tweet citing a meme citing an article citing a meme?
Going straight to the source of the research or data is always better to quote. Even the most credible secondary source, regardless of whether you are referencing material from a website or media you trust. Although backlinks are excellent for SEO, they can muddy citations.
3. Take out your phone.
Journalism is not content marketing, of course. However, traditional reporting techniques, such as following up on leads and speaking with sources, will make the material more powerful and authoritative, particularly for quotations and explicit crediting of a subject matter expert.
Making a few calls and speaking with sources directly is also an excellent method to create a network of subject matter experts you may use in the future.
4. Check your own facts.
Digital material is comparable to playing the classic telephone game online. Even if there was some truth to the tale at first. It only takes a few repetitions for misinformation to spread like wildfire.
Many content authors have “beats,” much like reporters. Which makes it simple to rely on outmoded and incorrect sources and information.
5. Keep in mind that even reliable information and facts might change.
Even the top physicians, scientists, and public health professionals only know what they know until they learn something new. The study of addiction, epidemiology and many other aspects of health and medicine are all fields that are continually developing and changing.
In contrast to politics, science and health course correction is a necessary component of the process. To guarantee the accuracy, support, and compliance with moral norms and rules, even timeless health literature needs an ongoing update. Use sources that are no older than two to three years, wherever possible.
Regardless of their professed goals, health disinformation may be the downfall of businesses worth billions of dollars, as the Purdue Pharma case demonstrates. But content marketers can help defend the image of the healthcare businesses they represent. They also can increase customer trust by following a few straightforward procedures.