Breaking through the medical fake news bubble

While usually the term is used in the context of politics, “fake news” has infiltrated medicine, with online discourse giving new life to those arguing against vaccinations, as well as modern-day snake oil salesmen touting “cures” to cancers that can’t be cured and herbal remedies that are unproven at best.

cartoon of news anchor with medical imagery on screen

It’s this environment that has both Raina Merchant, director of the Center for Digital Health and associate vice president and associate professor of Emergency Medicine, and David A. Asch, executive director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, concerned. In a new perspective piece published in JAMA, they hope to provide some guidance for medical professionals and scientists as they wade into online discussions.  

Prominent in their piece is breaking through people’s spheres of influence. Building on their recently published paper, Merchant and Asch offer key points to keep in mind to protect scientific thought and break through the fake news noise, such as people aren’t uninformed on purpose, and a reminder to support science with science.

Read more at Penn Medicine News.