Accept It, Wikipedia Is a Public Health Issue. Now Let's Fix It. 3BL Media, 13 December 2013:"Medical articles on Wikipedia receive about 150 million page views per month, and nearly 50% of practicing physicians use Wikipedia as an information source for providing medical care. And while Wikipedia itself has disclaimers that information included on its site may be inaccurate, that doesn’t stop consumers and medical professionals alike from using it as a health source that they consider credible. What should we do? Stop sticking our head in the sand and take accountability to fix this very concerning public health issue.
"I recently spoke with a colleague whose doctor’s medical assistant provided her with incorrect information and referenced Wikipedia as the source. Thankfully, she knew enough to go online herself (not to Wikipedia!) and learned the information was wrong. But, that’s not the case for many consumers. They trust their medical professionals without question, and believe that everything they read online is fact, especially from such a popular site as Wikipedia – never realizing that the information might be inaccurate and sometimes downright dangerous."
Pharma Should Make Better Use of Social Media To Engage Patients and Improve the Use of Medicines. IMS Health, 21 January 2014:"Wikipedia is the single leading source of medical information for patients and healthcare professionals. The top 100 English Wikipedia pages for healthcare topics were accessed, on average, 1.9 million times during the past year. Rarer diseases, which often have fewer available information sources and are less understood by patients and clinicians, show a higher frequency of visits than many more common diseases. In an assessment of 50 major disease-specific Wikipedia articles, the Institute found a strong correlation between page views and medicine use, with online information-gathering occurring throughout the patient journey."
Funny, I Just Read About That Disease!The Boston Globe, 25 January 2014:"For all their training, doctors are just as susceptible to bias as the rest of us—and a recent study of the decision-making of internal medicine residents illustrates why a second opinion can be a good idea. The residents were first presented with the Wikipedia entry for a particular disease and were asked to judge its accuracy. Then they returned to work. Six hours later, in an ostensibly unrelated task, they were presented with a case that had clinical manifestations similar to the disease considered earlier on Wikipedia, but that was actually caused by something different. A significant bias resulted: 'Simply reading about the diseases on the Internet increased by almost 100% the number of cases mistakenly diagnosed as one of those diseases.' The good news is that accuracy returned to normal when the researchers asked the residents to go back over the cases in detail.
"Schmidt, H. et al., 'Exposure to Media Information about a Disease Can Cause Doctors to Misdiagnose Similar-Looking Clinical Cases', Academic Medicine (forthcoming)."
America’s future doctors are starting their careers by saving Wikipedia Quartz, 28 January 2014:"Dr. Amin Azzam, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine. [has] launched an elective for fourth-year medical students that consists solely of editing Wikipedia articles for accuracy. [...] Most of Wikipedia is surprisingly accurate, Azzam said, because it uses the 'wisdom of the crowd' to vet information. But medical pages have catching up to do. 'Medical professionals haven’t been editing Wikipedia,' he said. 'In fact, we were told not to go near it.'"
"Dr. Wikipedia: The 'Double-Edged Sword' Of Crowdsourced Medicine". NPR. 8 February 2014. Retrieved 13 June 2014.:"Azzam is a professor of psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco. He teaches a course that encourages fourth-year medical students to use their knowledge to improve Wikipedia, one article at a time. The syllabus is, of course, posted on Wikipedia. Students choose one article from the top 100 most-read medical articles on the site and work on it throughout the course. ... They have to make decisions about how to order symptoms and how to remove jargon to make the information understandable. 'It's not just adding references and not just improving the gaps,' Azzam says, 'but thinking about how to make it more readable and more digestible for the people that are reading Wikipedia.'"
Hasty, RT; et al. (May 2014). "Wikipedia vs peer-reviewed medical literature for information about the 10 most costly medical conditions". The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association. 114 (5): 368–73. PMID24778001. doi:10.7556/jaoa.2014.035.