Medical Wikipedia in the works
A new project to compile the largest online medical resource is underway. It's based on the same technology used by Wikipedia and is intended to make esoteric medical information widely accessible and easy to understand.
If relying on a random stranger's instructions to remove a kidney sounds a bit dodgy, however, never fear. Only trained professionals and screened organizations will be allowed to edit the ever-evolving encyclopedia.
Still, if existing Wikipedia entries are already deemed suspect by academics, as many are now, imagine the controversy over contentious medical-based entries. I'm guessing there will be some initial skepticism, but if used as a starting point for further research (and ideally a doctor's appointment), it could be quite useful.
Would you trust information from a medical Wikipedia?
A project launched last week aims to create what is in essence a medical Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia focused on explaining conditions, drugs, procedures, medial facilities and other medical topics written by physicians and PhDs.
The Medpedia Project launched a preview of the Medpedia site Wednesday with the support of medical heavyweights like Harvard Medical School, the Stanford School of Medicine, the University of Michigan Medial School and the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health.
These schools and other organizations have agreed to provide content and to urge their employees to sign up to be editors of the new site, which is scheduled to go live with 1,000 pages of information by the end of the year.
Although online tools can help patients take charge of their own care, reduce costs and prevent medical errors, they also carry risks. Wikipedia, which uses an army of volunteers writing on a variety of topics, has had its share of controversies concerning the reliability of its experts.
Currier hopes to avoid such problems by putting safeguards in place. Chief among them: Only licensed medical professionals and organizations in good standing who are rigorously screened will be approved to provide and edit information.