Harvard Medical School helps launch a wiki

Harvard is helping to build a medical wiki. From The Crimson:

The Medpedia Project, which [James P.] Currier aims to launch by the end of the year, is a global effort modeled after Wikipedia, to build a comprehensive medical resource that will be readily accessible and understandable to both health professionals and patients.

In addition to the encyclopedic “wiki” component of Medpedia—which will be edited by approved contributors selected through an internal review process—the online Web site will serve as a professional network for the medical community and a platform for patient groups.

“In the big picture, it’s an attempt to engage the health and medical communities with Web technology, something that is only beginning today,” said Currier, who graduated from Harvard Business School in 1999 and has partnered with scholars at Harvard to launch Medpedia.

Scherokman and Segal had previously raised this model as a possibility in Health 2.0 for Neurologists

  • Should doctors focus on contributing to existing Wikipedia articles? Or is medicine so technical or opinion-based that doctors should favor wikis with authorship restricted to medical professionals? The typical Wikipedia approach is to open up authorship to everyone, though exceptions are made for opinion-based material.
  • Should doctor-authored wikis be sponsored by publishing companies, Wikipedia, professional societies, or other not-for-profit groups? Various groups are already experimenting with these options. The largest medical publisher, Elsevier, has placed the content of a textbook into WiserWiki, with authorship restricted to board-certified physicians. Some not-for-profit groups have also started general medical wikis with authorship restricted to physicians (AskDrWiki) or a slightly wider group of medical professionals (Ganfyd).
  • Should there be separate doctor-authored wikis intended for clinicians and others for patients?
  • Should there be separate wikis for specialties (e.g., the wiki Handbook of Genetic Counseling) or should information be in an all-encompassing collection such as Wikipedia?
August 13, 2008

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