Wikipedia needs physician input

Like it or not, consumers frequently use open-source encyclopedia Wikipedia for health information. However, it can be dangerous for consumers to rely on such information, which may not have been vetted by a physician, as anyone who wishes can submit information or make changes to the existing content.

For that reason, it's become important for physicians to jump in and participate in the Wikipedia authoring process, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.

To conduct their study, researchers noted how often Wikipedia entries appeared when they entered health-related terms into search engines like Google. They also examined whether consumers use Wikipedia more to find health information once they learn of a disease outbreak or other health concern.

Ultimately, researchers found that for 71 to 85 percent of search words tested on varied search engines, Wikipedia entries were among the first 10 results.

To learn more about the study:
- read this iHealthBeat piece