Hidradenitis Suppurativa: A Cross-sectional Study of Content Quality on TikTok

Main Article Content

Raquel Wescott
Ramneek Dhami
Lingchen Wang
Whitney Hovenic


hidradenitis suppurativa, general dermatology, TikTok, educational quality, social media


Introduction: TikTok is a popular social media platform that is sometimes used to share medical information. 1 Creators share their experiences with or provide education regarding medical diagnoses. This study investigated the content quality of TikTok videos regarding hidradenitis suppurativa (HS).

Methods: On October 24, 2022, we searched #hidradenitissuppurativa on TikTok and filtered by most liked videos. Two independent reviewers analyzed the videos, excluding those not in English, irrelevant to HS, and duplicates. Videos were scored using the Global Quality Scale (GQS), 2 a one question scale (1-poor quality to 5-excellent quality), and the DISCERN tool, 3 a 16-question analysis (1-low quality to 5-high quality).

Results: One-hundred videos were included. The mean GQS score was 2.49 [SD 0.87] and mean DISCERN score was 1.98 [SD 0.52], with substantial interrater reliability (Cohen’s Kappa 0.667). Twenty-six videos (26%) were created by physicians and 74 (74%) were created by non-physicians. Mean GQS and DISCERN scores for physician versus non-physician videos were 3.40 and 2.62, and 2.16 and 1.75, respectively. Both GQS and DISCERN scores were greater for videos created by physicians versus non-physicians (p < 0.0001).

Conclusion: Overall, there is a lack of information on treatment benefits, risks, and mechanism of action. Given the mean GQS and DISCERN scores, the average video was of generally poor quality, creating potential for lack of knowledge and misinformation regarding HS. With the growing use of TikTok for educational purposes, improving content quality should be a priority to provide accurate information regarding medical conditions such as HS.


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