Using Wikipedia for online health information, my USA Today column

Both doctors and patients are increasingly turning to Wikipedia to look up medical information.

usa_today_logo See what I think of the phenomenon in my latest op-ed in the USA Today, Wikipedia isn’t really the patient’s friend. Here’s an excerpt:

The ability to research diseases and drugs on the web has empowered patients in managing their health. More than 160 million adults in the U.S. have gone online to look for health information. With two-thirds of them beginning their Internet health inquiry using a search engine, it is no wonder that Wikipedia has become a common medical resource for patients. More than half, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project, reported that their most recent web session influenced how they took care of themselves or for someone else, illustrating how critical online medical information has become.

But Wikipedia’s medical entries – as has been reported with other entries on other issues – are not reliable for the simple fact that they are prone to manipulation, as is all Wikipedia content.

Enjoy the piece, and thanks to the USA Today for the writing opportunity.

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