WHO adopts Wikipedia approach for key update

May 4, 2007

Ismael Peña has sent me this headline WHO adopts Wikipedia approach for key update from Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. As the notice said WHO is embarking on one of its periodic updates of a system of medical coding called the International Classification of Diseases and it wants the world’s help doing it.

The new, more open approach to updating the disease classifications won’t be entirely wiki-esque. That process, with its anyone-can-edit approach, builds a degree of vulnerability into the end product, with some contributors deliberately planting false information for the fun of it.

With the ICD, people can propose changes and argue for them on a WHO-sponsored blog. But groups of subject matter experts will weigh and synthesize the suggestions, Jakob said.

This is not the first initiative of using Web 2.0 paradigm to generate knowledge in health (see for example AskDrWiki). But as far as I know it is the first time that a high level institution as WHO uses this kind of application in such an important field related to generate and code medical knowledge.