Pam Dolan on Medpedia in American Medical News

Amidst all the coverage of Medpedia that has generally seemed to be derived from a press release is this more informative article from Pam Dolan at American Medical News.

I’m quoted in the article:

Medical librarian and blogger David Rothman, who regularly writes at about medical wikis, expressed concerns about the regular monitoring of Medpedia’s content. “If the academic institutions … wish to avoid embarrassment, I’d recommend that they dedicate some time of their health care experts to regular review of articles,” Rothman wrote.

He estimates about 65 medical wikis exist. He’s not sure what the involvement of prominent medical institutions will mean to the project, noting that comparisons won’t be possible until the site is up and running.

As I usually do when I’m interviewed or quoted, I thought I’d post the entirety of my comments here. Pam got my views partially from this post I wrote about Medpedia and partially from an email. Pam’s questions are bolded:

My question for you is whether or not medpedia will be the largest collaboration of its kind for a medical wiki…

That depends on what you mean by “largest” and what we learn about Medpedia when it comes out of Beta. We haven’t yet seen how many contributors/editors it has or how many articles/words it contains. We won’t know for months after it begins how active a community it has. What other metrics could be used to measure “largeness”? The names of affiliated institutions? Medpedia doesn’t really say exactly what contributions those institutions are making (aside from, apparently, allowing the use of their names and logos).

…and if it will raise the bar for those wanting to develop medical wikis in the future.

I think that remains to be seen. So far, Medpedia looks to the public like a press release and a mock-up. When it is up and running, we can begin to compare it to other efforts. Until then, such comparisons aren’t possible.

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