June 2012 - Internet Resources Digest


Medical Wikipedias

Internet Resources Digest
June 2012

American International Health Alliance
Learning Resources Project

The Internet Resources Digest (previously – Health Resources Digest) is distributed free of charge as a service of the American International Health Alliance (AIHA). If this document is to be re-distributed or posted on another Web site, we request that it be posted in full/without alteration, and credit is given to the AIHA as the source of the document.

Medical Wikipedias

Wikis are used to enable online authoring and collaboration among groups of people, a fundamental concept of web 2.0. In academia, wikis enable groups of researchers or collaborators to create knowledge and develop, edit or add content. The social, open nature of wikis makes them controversial and occasionally problematic. While clearly useful in some ways, wikis are not universally applicable in fields where standards of accuracy are required for human safety (such as in medicine)... A wiki is an editable website that records changes so that pages can be changed back if needed. The underlying system includes tools to monitor changes and pages to discuss and resolve disagreements over content. „

(From: HLWIKI Canada - http://hlwiki.slais.ubc.ca/index.php/Wikis)

Medical Wikipedias


Ganfyd is a medical wiki community and online medical wiki encyclopedia, created in November 2005 by a group of doctors working in the United Kingdom. Only registered medical practitioners or persons working under their direction, and a small number of invited non-medical specialists, may edit articles, and its license specifically prohibits editing by people who are not registered medical practitioners. The intention is to make the articles reliable enough for professional medical use. An audit trail is publicly available for each article. Registration is by a variety of mechanisms, including a GMC Certificate or equivalent.



All medical professionals are welcome to use Medpedia including: physicians, researchers, nurses, hospital administrators, public health officials, engineers in medical device companies, and anyone whose career in medicine and health leads them to have special knowledge they can share. Physicians and researchers with Ph.D.s in a biomedical field will be granted Editor privileges, which means they can directly edit the pages of the collaborative encyclopedia. Other medical professionals can also contribute to the collaborative encyclopedia by using the “Suggest Changes” link on Article pages.



Dr Wiki is a nonprofit educational web site made by physicians for physicians, medical students, and healthcare providers. Its purpose is to serve as a online repository of medical information that can be accessed by anyone. Medical professionals can publish review articles, clinical notes, pearls, and medical images on the site. Using a wiki anyone with a medical background can contribute or edit medical articles. The Main focus has been on Cardiology and Electro physiology but later it started to expand to other medical specialties.



Medcyclopaedia.com is a text, media and feature rich web site addressing the information needs of medical professionals around the globe. Here you will find the complete on-line edition of the Encyclopaedia of Medical Imaging, the complete on-line edition of A Global Textbook of Radiology,  several hundred chapters from the ESNR CD-ROM series. For the registered medical professionals, all images come in higher resolution The Encyclopaedia of Medical Imaging is an online medical wiki encyclopedia of medical imaging used in radiology and radiography. The Medcyclopaedia.com website is provided and copyrighted by the healthcare unit of General Electric corporation. Retrieval of images (other than thumbnails) requires registration (free). More than 18,000 medical topics, 10,000 medical images and media clips (for your own non-commercial use, for instance in lectures, articles, and publications - provided that you acknowledge to the source)



Wikisurgery is collaboratively building the most comprehensive and trusted free surgical encyclopaedia. With over 33,000 articles for surgeons and patients, including news, articles, operation scripts, biographies and images. Wikisurgery was set-up by Surgical Associates Ltd, owners of the International Journal of Surgery. Surgical Associates Ltd helps in the administration of the site today. All of the information in Wikisurgery is free for anyone to copy, modify for their own purposes, and redistribute or use as they see fit, as long as the new version grants the same freedoms to others and acknowledges the authors of the Wikisurgery article used.


Articles and Online Forums

Using wikis in reference services 

Accuracy and completeness of drug information in Wikipedia: an assessment
J Med Libr Assoc. 2011 October; 99(4): 310–313.

“The quality of drug information in Wikipedia continues to be inconsistent, increasing the risk that consumers and practitioners may inappropriately rely on it... Encouraging consumers, students, and health care professionals to evaluate the quality of drug information is an important step in improving health literacy, empowering patients, and ultimately improving health care...”

Ten Simple Rules for Editing Wikipedia. 
PLoS Comput Biol. 2010 September; 6(9): e1000941

“People are guided to Wikipedia when searching the Web for biomedical information. So there is an increasing need for the scientific community to engage with Wikipedia to ensure that the information it contains is accurate and current. For scientists, contributing to Wikipedia is an excellent way of fulfilling public engagement responsibilities and sharing expertise.”              


Wikipedia as an evidence source for nursing and healthcare students. 
Nurse Education Today, Volume 31, Issue 2 , Pages 135-139, February 2011

The quality of the evidence taken obtained from the 2500 plus references from over 50 Wikipedia pages was of sufficiently sound quality to suggest that, for health related entries, Wikipedia is appropriate for use by nursing students.“ 


Evaluation of Pharmacist Use and Perception of Wikipedia as a Drug Information Resource.
Ann Pharmacother November 2009 43:1912-1913.

“...Although the majority of respondents reported that they do not use Wikipedia as a drug information resource, only one third of pharmacists who reported use of Wikipedia for drug information were aware that anyone can edit the information. These results warrant an effort to educate pharmacists about the limitations and appropriate use of online resources for drug information”. 


A Student Authored Online Medical Education Textbook: Editing Patterns and Content Evaluation of a Medical Student Wiki. 
AMIA Annu Symp Proc. 2011; 2011: 1392–1401

“The University of Minnesota medical student wiki (UMMedWiki) allows students to collaboratively edit classroom notes to support medical education. Since 2007, UMMedWiki has grown to include 1,591 articles that have collectively received 1.2 million page views.” 


Wikipedia: A Key Tool for Global Public Health Promotion
J Med Internet Res 2011;13(1):e14

While some authors have called for a variant of Wikipedia for medicine, many wikis have until now failed to attract the required long tail of editors. We believe that duplicate efforts will hurt the quality of available online information because the scarce number of active contributors is spread thinly over multiple resources. Furthermore, we hope Wikipedia will expand quality control measures in the future.“


Why We Should All Edit Wikipedia. 
UBC Medical Journal, September 2011, 32-33.

„...The medical pages in a given month receive between 150 and 200 million page views1 while the pharmacology content receives approximately 35 million... Wikipedia is a frequented source for medical information, a fact often under-appreciated by academia, and has yet to reach its full potential. Greater involvement of the broader medical community is required to make sure our colleagues and patients get the quality content they deserve. „


Use of Wikipedia for health information
Discussion on HIFA2015 discussion forum. 2011


Collections of Links

List of medical wikis 

List of online medical encyclopedia 

Top Fifty (50) Medical Wikis You Might (Want to) Know 

Related AIHA Resources

Writing for the Web. Health Resources Digest, July 2003

Online Encyclopedias and Dictionaries. Health Resources Digest, March 2002

Internet Resources Digest Forthcoming Topics [Provisional]

  • Telemedecine
  • Evidence-based Nursing

If you have a suggestion for a Digest topic, or would like to contribute information about Internet resources, then please contact ibra[at]zadar.net

Compiled by 
Irina Ibraghimova, PhD
Library and Information Management Specialist
HealthConnect  International

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