Medicine meets Wiki

There’s a new wiki in the health social media town, Medpedia.

Among the most popular online sources for health information is Wikipedia. Millions of people search Wikipedia daily for insights into medical conditions, drugs, and procedures. Medpedia estimates it will cover information on at least 30,000 conditions/diseases and 10,000 drugs.

Now comes the announcement of a sharply-focused wiki from the most credible of academic health institutions: Harvard, Michigan (my alma mater), Stanford, UC-Berkeley, and a host of other highly-branded health associations and stakeholders including the NIH, the CDC, and the FDA.

The press release on Medpedia’s website terms the project, the "world’s largest collaborative online encyclopedia of medicine."

This project will be a sort of hybrid wiki and encyclopedia in that it will accepted contributions from clinicians and scientists and experts, but will also have some restricted areas.

According to the project’s press release, Medpedia has plans to feature, "non-invasive text-based advertising" to cover costs.Jane’s Hot Points: It’s all about trust and credibility when it comes to accessing health information. I like the hybrid model of Medpedia — that the project’s advisers will maintain a strong clinical rein on some aspects of the content. This may achieve the magic balance between the slow world of peer-reviewed journals and the sometimes-too-fast publishing of bad medical information.

Consumers will have access to the same high-level content that their clinicians will. Those people who choose to use this source can be better armed when entering the doctor’s exam room with this deep, credible kind of information.

Based on the mock-up pages, examples of which are shown here, the graphics look clean and clear in a "How Stuff Works" sort of mode.

We’ll have to wait until later in 2008 to kick the tires on Medpedia, but its preliminary pedigree looks promising. Welcome, Medpedia, to the growing landscape of health/social media.

See also: Craig Stoltz’ post on why Wikipedia should pull the plug.

2 replies »

  1. Jane! Thanks for scooping this one! After reading Craig Stoltz’s post on WikiPedia, I got a little more sense of why the world might need another health wiki. Philosophically, I am a little surprised at the response of some parts of the medical community to the consumer voice in the health conversation. I hope Medpedia becomes a place for consumers to relate to expert-validated health information…and also a place to extend it with their own firsthand experience. In that way, both providers and consumers can learn something new. Without that, aren’t we just recreating RevolutionHealth, Mayo Clinic, or WebMD? Jude