What this Temple Health physician tells patients who believe online medical misinformation

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When it comes to communicating with patients about medical misinformation they find on social media, Margot Savoy, MD, a family physician at Temple University, tries to gently inform patients and steer them to more reliable sources, she told Politico.

Dr. Savoy, who serves as family and community medicine chair at Philadelphia-based Temple University, told the publication she likes to "correct people gently" and guide them to better resources.

"I talk to them about what I consider strong evidence," she said in the March 31 report. "What's coming from a reliable source of information and whether someone can back up their statement, can they show you evidence or data. Or whether they are telling you upfront, 'I have no data to support that whatsoever. It's just how I feel'… You need to think that through."

Specifically around issues related to COVID-19, Dr. Savoy said a lot of patients who present false information to her from social media get it from personal influencers, or individuals who aren't necessarily social media influencers but just people on the platform that you like or trust their opinions.

"…It's a person you like, you trust their judgment, they're your people," she said. "To you, they are famous. And that happens with lots of things around COVID. It's been a double edged sword."

 

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