Medical wikis: a easy way for physicians to be on the Internet

March 31, 2008

Following David Rothman’s initiative I started to collect wikis focus on health. I have added to the list Wikiecho launched by Dr. S. Sulfi

Wikiecho is a project to create a free, up-to-date and reliable online resource covering the rapidly advancing field of echocardiography . Check out the Help page to see how you can edit any page , or the Project page for more information about Wikiecho and getting involved.

This new initiative makes me think about E-Health and Society: An Empirical Study of Catalonia. One of the findings of this research project points out that the Internet is conceived by healthcare professionals as a space of information, not of communication. Moreover, the large majority of physicians does not use the Internet to spread their work. Only 19% have a personal web site and only 5% a blog. Furthermore, of those who have a web site, only 5% say that they established the site to communicate with their patients.

The research project also shows that most medical doctors consider the web as a provider of contents. 65% consider that the information posted is relevant. The majority considers that looking for information in the Internet would be positive for their patients and for the relationship between doctors and patients. However, 49% of doctors never recommend patients to check their medical condition on the Internet, and another 38% only do it rarely.

So, the principle of consulting the Internet is well considered by doctors, but they rarely put it into practice with their own patients. Research report results reveal that the lack of time during face to face consultation and the lack of training as the main reasons of this behaviour. Furthermore, physicians who have developed their own website talk about the Internet health information with their patients more than those who haven’t developed their own website.