Carma Bylund Co-Authors Articles on COVID Vaccine Communication and Cancer Misinformation on Social Media
Carma Bylund, University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications Public Relations professor and professor in the Division of Hematology & Oncology at the UF College of Medicine, is the co-author of “How to Talk to Patients About the COVID Vaccine” published on medpagetoday.com on July 30.
Bylund, Lindsay Thompson and Stephanie Staras found that communicating effectively with vaccine-hesitant patients is critically important to increasing the number of vaccinated individuals in all countries. They suggest five techniques published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention including listening actively, using patient-centered communication techniques, responding with empathy to questions and concerns, giving a strong recommendation and closing the conversation ensuring that the patient can address the issue again if desired.
According to the authors, “Although these techniques are useful, they could be improved in two important ways. First, the timing of empathy matters. When a clinician uses empathy in response to a patient’s concerns, it is better received if the clinician expresses empathy before answering the patient’s questions. This timing allows the patient to feel that their particular concerns are taken seriously and have been considered by the clinician. Second, it is important to both begin and end the conversation with a strong recommendation.”
They add, “As healthcare researchers and educators, we developed the C-LEAR approach — Counsel, Listen, Empathize, Answer, Recommend — an easy to remember, evidence-and-theory-based mnemonic to guide clinicians through the process of introducing and discussing vaccines with patients. We understand that it can be difficult to understand hesitancy for COVID-19 vaccination, and it may feel uncomfortable to engage patients in discussion. But getting the conversation started is key to fighting the pandemic.”
In addition, Bylund is one of 16 co-authors of “Cancer Misinformation and Harmful Information on Facebook and Other Social Media: A Brief Report “ published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute on July 22.
The study found that one-third of the most popular cancer treatment articles on social media contain misinformation and the vast majority of that misinformation has the potential to harm cancer patients by supporting approaches that could negatively impact the quality of their treatment and chances for survival. The study also showed that articles containing misinformation garner more attention and engagement than articles with evidence-based information.