Health and wellness trends went viral on social media platform TikTok in 2022. From hashtags causing medical supply chain malfunctions, to #Guttok teaching users how to improve their gut health, all eyes have been on the health industry's response to its growing social media popularity this year.
About 30 percent of TikTok users reported seeing mental health and health and wellness related videos on their feeds frequently in 2022, according to The New Consumer's 2023 "Consumer Trends"report.
These videos range from curated content from physicians, to trends and hashtags produced by individuals with no medical background. TikTok allows its users to post health facts and trends, whether or not they are accurate.
Since 2018, mobile video app TikTok has been downloaded around 4 billion times, more than any other social media app in that time period, according to the "Consumer Trends" report.
Some of TikTok's medical trends have made physcian's jobs harder in the last year, upsetting supply chains and giving patients inaccurate medical diagnoses.
However, some have improved physicians' lives, giving them ways to connect with patients before they even meet face-to-face.
"It's like you are meeting a practitioner before you go into the office," Daniel Choi, MD, a spine surgeon with 33,500 TikTok followers, told Becker's. "That Google search is your first introduction before you even shake hands."
TikTok can be a powerful tool for physicians, if they utilize it correctly. However, it has also negatively impacted healthcare in 2022.
An October survey of 2,000 Americans found that 1 in 5 Americans consult TikTok for health advice before contacting a physician. Consumers are most likely to consult TikTok for anxiety, depression and weight loss advice.
TikTok also created a wave of patients diagnosing themselves with mental health ailments in 2022.
Additionally, trends on the app contributed to shortages of medications including Wegovy and Ozepmic, used for weight-loss and diabetes treatment.
Demand for the medications skyrocketed after TikTok users claimed they helped lose lots of weight. The hashtags #Ozempic, #Ozempicweightloss, #Wegovy and #Wegovyweightloss went viral in 2022.
While TikTok has had positive and negative effects on the healthcare industry this year, it does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
By following the example of colleagues, physicians might be able to harness its powers for good going into the new year.