Lessons Learned: Fighting an Infodemic

Healthline Media CEO David Kopp joined American Medical Association President Patrice Harris and Managing Editor of Scientific American Curtis Brainard for a panel discussion at the recent Collision from Home Conference in June 2020. Here are the key lessons learned as they relate to accurate health information for consumers during the pandemic and beyond.

Dimensions of misinformation

Facts are facts and science is science. But often, when information is provided, audiences can misunderstand or misinterpret the truth. For example, earlier in the pandemic, there was hard data that fewer children were getting the virus. That was a fact. But that was interpreted that children can continue doing whatever they want, which was fiction. Make sure you communicate and lead with science, and don’t interpret otherwise.

Evolving science

Information, science, and data as they relate to the virus are changing, often by the day. Frustration is brewing among consumers that what was true yesterday may be replaced by new information today that’s also true. Address the changes head on so consumers can remain confident in the information you provide.

Invest in quality

With evidence, factual information evolves frequently. It is imperative that organizations invest in keeping content and resources up to date, but that often comes at a high cost. Think before you act, and partner with trusted sources if you can’t commit to the upkeep on your own.

Dispelling misinformation and conspiracies

As humans, we rely on a triangulation of sources for information (government, media, individuals) and we have the ability to use judgement to determine the worthiness of a source. Organizations can only control their communication and earn their own trust. Make a day-to-day commitment to honor truth and exercise judgement to help those around you (peers, children, partners).

Debunking information

While fighting every fight can often backfire, it’s important to be proactive to create trust and educate, especially when someone's health is on the line. Whether that’s expressing the dangers of hydroquinone or rounding up coronavirus myths in this Medical News Today article, pick your battles. Be strategic, and hold true to your integrity to help consumers sort truth from fiction during this time.

Watch the full discussion here

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As the #1 health media property in the US, Healthline Media reaches more than 94MM unique visitors each month (Comscore, August 2021). We provide credible health information with a compassionate approach.