health care

Report: Wikipedia a Top Source of Medical Info for Both Patients and Doctors

Whether this is awesome or scary depends on your feelings toward the open source encyclopedia

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Wikipedia is the single leading source of health care information for both providers and patients, with 50 percent of physicians reporting that they've consulted the community-edited, online encyclopedia for information on health conditions.

A report from IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a medical technology company that draws on data from more than 100,000 suppliers and 45 billion healthcare transactions each year, finds that Wikipedia is the single leading source of medical information for patients and healthcare professionals. Serious illnesses, especially less common ones, are among the most frequently searched topics by English-language users.

Launched in 2001, Wikipedia is the world's largest general reference work available on the Internet, with more than 30 million articles in 287 languages that can be edited and posted without cost by any person with access to the Internet. However, the online encyclopedia's more than 71,000 active editors have no credential checks, and there are numerous instances of deliberate vandalism and fabricated posts.