Wikipedia is widely used for health information, and medical professionals could help improve the site's quality by writing and editing more pages on medical topics, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, the AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports.
Study Details, Findings
The study looked at how frequently Wikipedia entries appeared when researchers entered health-related terms into search engines, such as Google, and whether consumers use Wikipedia more to find health information after learning of a disease outbreak or other health concerns.
Researchers found that in 71% to 85% of search words tested on various search engines Wikipedia came up within the first 10 results.
The study notes that Wikipedia's policy allowing anyone to submit or make changes to entries sparks concerns about potential inaccuracy, which may be one reason physicians tend to participate in online outlets where only they can contribute.
However, the study said that physicians, as well as patient groups and associations, can help enhance the quality of Wikipedia by participating (Metz, AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 4/29).