The AMA is adopting a new policy to address public health misinformation

CHICAGO – The spread of misinformation continues to adversely affect the COVID-19 pandemic, and is fueling vaccination, public health relief and distrust in U.S. health care organizations. House of Representatives to address widespread misinformation by health professionals. As part of the report developed by the AMA Board of Trustees, the new policy provides a comprehensive strategy to halt the spread of misinformation and protect the health of citizens, including actions that AMA, social media companies, publishers can take. , state licensing bodies, accreditation boards, state and specialty health professional societies, and those who accredit continuing education.

The report specifies how misinformation statements made by healthcare professionals can be directly linked to issues such as the promotion of unproven COVID-19 treatments, false claims of vaccine side effects, and evidence-based public health guidelines. Although the disinformation of health professionals is widespread in the COVID-19 pandemic, the report cites a Center Against Digital Hatred, which found that nearly two-thirds (or more than 812,000 individual posts) of social media publications against vaccines could be found. they returned to only twelve people, nicknamed the “Dozen of Misinformation.” Given that economic gain can often be a reason for spreading misinformation, the report states that both the ability to find a listener to deceive people and the ability to benefit the public financially must be addressed.

“Doctors are a reliable source of information for patients and the public, but spreading misinformation to a few has implications for the entire profession and causes harm. Physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to share truthful information, to correct misleading and misleading information, and to direct people to reliable sources of health information, “said AMA President Gerald E. Harmon, MD. to address the root of the problem. We need to ensure that health professionals who spread misinformation are unable to use broad platforms, which often benefit them financially, to spread dangerous health claims. Although we will undo the damage caused by the disinformation campaigns in the COVID-19 pandemic, we can now act to help spread the misinformation in the future. “

Extending AMA’s efforts to address misinformation, the new policy calls on AMA to work with health care professionals and other relevant organizations to implement a comprehensive strategy that includes the following priorities:

  • Keep the AMA as a reliable source of evidence-based information for physicians and patients,
  • Ensure that evidence-based medical and public health information is available by contacting publishers, research organizations, and the media to develop best practices for payment walls and prepress to improve access to evidence-based information and analysis.
  • Deal with information disseminated by healthcare professionals through social media platforms and earn money by spreading misinformation on social media platforms.
  • Educate health professionals and citizens on how to know and disseminate misinformation.
  • Recognize the role of societies of health professionals in acting as appropriate entities for the verification of health-related information disseminated by various media platforms.
  • Promote ongoing training to make it available to healthcare professionals who act as fact checkers to help spread health-related misinformation.
  • Ensure that licensing commissions are empowered to take disciplinary action against health care professionals for disseminating health-related misinformation, and asserting that all speeches used by a health care professional in their credentials are professional conduct and may be examined by licensed organizations.
  • Ensure that specialized committees are empowered to take action against the board certification of health professionals who disseminate health-related misinformation, and
  • Encourage state and local medical societies to participate in the elimination of misinformation in their jurisdictions.

The new report provides an overview of ways in which health professionals can spread misinformation, especially through social media platforms. Although the report states that misinformation existed long before the Internet and social media became commonplace, social media platforms have acted as a multiplier for the spread of misinformation, especially by encouraging the prevalence of misinformation about COVID-19. The report concludes that addressing the misinformation disseminated by health professionals, especially on social media, requires a three-pronged approach: not prioritizing disinformation in social networking algorithms, confirming and empowering the role of reactive fact checking, and acting on the underlying health incentive structure. professionals who disseminate health-related misinformation.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the AMA has made a number of efforts to strengthen vaccine confidence, advocate for science, and address misinformation and misinformation, among other things, to be vigilant against the expansion of the two goals of the top six social media and e-commerce companies. misinformation and unintentional misinformation on their platforms. Since the start of the pandemic, the AMA has provided doctors with up-to-date information on COVID-19 news, research, vaccinations, and therapeutics through its online COVID-19 resource center. AMA will continue to leverage its communication channels and network to provide physicians with the most relevant information and resources, to share with patients, and to continue to support policies to address the further spread of health information misinformation and misinformation.

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