MisinfoRx: A Toolkit for Healthcare Providers
“MisinfoRx Toolkit” gives health care providers the knowledge and training to tackle patient-held medical misinformation
November 16th, 2021
Boston, MA – To help counter the offline impacts of online medical misinformation, a team of collaborators from the Harvard Global Health Institute, the Technology and Social Change Project at the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, the University of Michigan School of Information, the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine, and the Alfred Landecker Democracy Fellowship have created the MisinfoRx Toolkit. The Toolkit equips health care providers with knowledge and skills to counter medical misinformation and support patient health.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shed new light on the challenge of online medical misinformation but this phenomenon is not new nor will it end with this current health crisis. Mis- and disinformation are longstanding challenges that operate at the interplay of psychological, social, economic, technological, and political dynamics. With the rapidly changing information environment, inaccurate and misleading health information has spread at unprecedented speed and scale.
Harm lies in the power of false information to shape offline health behaviors and undermine individual and public health. Across a myriad of diseases and health crises, like the current covid-19 pandemic, we have seen how online misinformation negatively influences people’s decisions and behaviors, threatening individual and population level health. For example, a recent study showed that even brief exposure to Covid-19 vaccine misinformation made people less likely to want a Covid-19 vaccine.
In clinical settings, providers have been forced to grapple with this challenge. Yet, addressing misinformation in person with patients has been largely left out of medical education and training.
The MisinfoRx Toolkit was created to help support providers in addressing patient-held misinformation. It offers an overview of the science behind medical misinformation and why it can be so influential. Rooted in the latest evidence, the toolkit then provides strategies for addressing patient-held misinformation through empathetic and collaborative dialogue with patients, where they seek to understand what patients believe, why they believe it, and how they can best support the patient in making health-promotive decisions as a trusted partner.
Access the MisinfoRx Toolkit at misinforx.com/download