Brian Southwell, PhD
Senior Director, Science in the Public Sphere, RTI International
Duke-RTI Scholar, Duke Forge, Duke University
Misinformation as a Source of Complication for Clinical Trials
Behavioral sciences; Health behavior; Health knowledge, attitudes, practice; Misinformation; Patient selection; Treatment refusal
- Both lack of information and misinformation likely reduce participation in clinical trials.
- Many sources of misinformation engender distrust of treatment, including inaccurate online sources, questionable sources trying to sell products, some health education from advocacy organizations, and even conventional news sources.
- It is important to understand misinformation, how it emerges, its consequences, and the unintended effects of correcting it.
- Our needs for social connection and hope for the future make us vulnerable to medical misinformation.
- Studies support the corrective potential of direct rebuttal and large-scale exposure to accurate information.
- It is important for clinicians and researchers to monitor and understand patients’ information environments and to build and maintain trust between healthcare systems and patients.
Emerging literature on misinformation highlights our humanity. Our needs for social connection and hope for the future make us vulnerable to misinformation.
Correcting misinformation is difficult and requires understanding of human psychology and patients’ information environments, and promotion of the shared interests of patients and healthcare systems.