Strategies to counter disinformation for healthcare practitioners and policymakers


Neylan, J. H., Patel, S. S., & Erickson, T. B. (2021). Strategies to counter disinformation for healthcare practitioners and policymakers. World Medical & Health Policy , 1-9.



Medical disinformation has interfered with healthcare workers' ability to communicate with the general population in a wide variety of public health contexts globally. This has limited the effectiveness of evidence-based medicine and healthcare capacity. Disinformation campaigns often try to integrate or co-opt healthcare workers in their practices which hinders effective health communication. We describe a critical overview of issues health practitioners and communicators have experienced when dealing with medical disinformation online and offline as well as best practices to overcome these issues when disseminating health information. This article lists disinformation techniques that have yet to be used against the medical community but need to be considered in future communication planning as they may be highly effective. We also present broad policy recommendations and considerations designed to mitigate the effectiveness of medical disinformation campaigns.



  • Medical practitioners must be aware they can be co-opted by disinformation campaigns.

  • The medical community needs to be prepared for emerging technologies that will allow for sophisticated disinformation campaigns.

  • Adequate cyber security infrastructure is essential to combatting disinformation

Publisher's Version

Last updated on 12/10/2021