Wikipedia Medical School Outreach Project
Special Projects Fund
December 2, 2014
ClosedSEE GRANT OUTCOMES
Wikipedia is the seventh most-visited website on the Internet, and its 26,000 health care articles are accessed by Web users 178 million times a month.
New Yorkers have come to use Wikipedia for information on health care, medical use, and appropriate care. Doctors and providers also often consult Wikipedia to get a quick take on an issue or as a springboard to additional sources in the footnotes. Editing Wikipedia to include evidence-based information about appropriate care and overused medical procedures is an important intervention to advance public health. The Wikipedia Education Program uses medical students as fact checkers and editors to improve the quality and accuracy of Wikipedia’s health information. To ensure high-value edits to articles that directly impact patient and provider information needs, NYHealth awarded Consumers Union of United States, Inc., a grant to support a two-year collaborative with New York State medical schools to implement the Wikipedia Education Program.
Under this grant, a Consumers Union staff member led the Wikipedia Education Program. Known as the “Wikipedian-in-Residence,” the staff member encouraged medical schools to adopt the program; held trainings, seminars, and edit-a-thons; and developed and distributed instructional guides geared specifically to medical schools. Professors assigned students to carry out collaborative class projects to jointly edit Wikipedia articles on high-priority health topics in New York State, including medical overuse and guidelines for appropriate care. Medical students gained experience by researching, submitting, and publishing articles, as well as by reviewing and critiquing each other’s work. In addition, Consumers Union convened a conference on online medical information and appropriate use of medical care, along with several smaller events or seminars throughout New York State.
Read a post on the Health Affairs GrantWatch blog about improving the accuracy of Wikipedia’s medical information by NYHealth Program Officer Brian Byrd.