I just came back from Spain where there are more than 480 confirmed H1N1 cases, but no one seemed to be worried about it. I’ve already covered this important issue:
Now here is a collection of online maps focusing on H1N1 cases. And an interesting article on Discover:
Last month I scrambled to write a story about the evolution of swine flu for the New York Times.
All of the scientists were completely open with me. They didn’t wave me off because they had to wait until their results were published in a big journal. In fact, they were open with the whole world, posting all their results in real-time on a wiki. So everyone who wanted to peruse their analysis could see how it developed as more data emerged and as they used different methods to analyze it.
I just came across Toxipedia and found an interesting press release about it:
The collaborative environmental and public health resource center Toxipedia has won the right to manage the National Library of Medicine’s World Library of Toxicology (WLT)!
The WLT is a repository of public health links from over 40 countries. In collaboration with the International Union of Toxicology, and with financial support from the National Library of Medicine, Toxipedia will manage the WLT, strengthen its content, increase the number of participating countries, and expand its focus to highlight issues of environmental and public health significance to these countries.
MedPedia, the medical online encyclopaedia was launched this week and I’m quite interested to see how it works. I’m an administrator in the English Wikipedia and I always think people should focus on one project instead of giving attention to several less important projects. When we have a Wikipedia, why do we need a Medpedia? A few words about how their system works:
The Medpedia Project is a long-term, worldwide project to evolve a new model for sharing and advancing knowledge about health, medicine and the body among medical professionals and the general public. This model is founded on providing a free online technology platform that is collaborative, interdisciplinary and transparent.
Anyone can contribute, and there are multiple ways of contributing. If you are a physician or Ph.D. in the biomedical field, you can create a profile and, if you are approved to become an Editor, you will gain editing privileges and will be able to make changes directly to the Medpedia wiki (see more below).
If you are anyone else, you can use the “Suggest Changes” link at the top of any page to make a suggestion for that page. An approved Editor will review and potentially add your suggestion.
We need Medpedia to provide reliable medical content? That’s what we are working on in Wikipedia.
I believe elitism kills content. Only the power of masses controlled by well-designed editing guidelines can lead to a comprehensive encyclopaedia.
- Moreover, Medpedia publishes content under the GFDL license. Correct me if I’m wrong, but anything they come up with can be transferred to Wikipedia as it will be published under the same license. It means the medical editors of Medpedia practically work for Wikipedia.
- They have nice images, but what about the sources? We have strict guidelines for uploading images to Wikipedia.
Anyway, I truly wish them luck with this project because if they manage to create a useful database of medical information, I will be more than happy to promote it.
What do you think about Medpedia?
I’ve been a Wikipedia administrator for a long time and I’ve had some edits on medical wikis as well. The reason why I mention it now is that I know exactly how hard it is to manage and supervise the content of a wiki. Before, we used VandalProof, a tool which allowed us to review edits really efficiently. But now we have a supertool, Huggle:
Huggle is an application for dealing with vandalism, written in Visual Basic .NET. It was originally developed by Gurch.
Huggle is a tool for dealing with vandalism. Its nature requires that it is capable of editing pages quickly, and of making many edits in a short space of time. Such features should be used with caution. Use of Huggle by new or inexperienced users is not recommended. Use of Huggle is subject to Wikipedia policies and guidelines.
You can create a whitelist for experienced users and a blacklist for vandals. You can revert the edits and leave warning messages on user’s talk pages with only one click. It’s also possible to review several edits simultaneusly (by opening new tabs).
Here is the manual and you can download it here.
A screenshot from the Wikimedia Commons page
This site has been on my list for a while.
Simple GeneticsTM: genetic test reviews is an independent wiki-based resource dedicated to the provision of reviews and unbiased information about commonly available genetic tests, its clinical validity and utility.
The project aims to improve the quality and accessibility of information regarding genetic tests and help to make informed choice decision for physicians and/or patients.
The content of reviews is created based on available information on the companies websites, scientific articles, media resources, wikipedia and reports of independent clinical assessment organizations. The commercial test manufacturers or providers will be also asked to provide any published or unpublished relevant data.
Information will be reviewed and edited by registered clinicians or scientists working in clinical genetic settings.
Though, the site seems to be inactive and we all know how much chance a new wiki has nowadays to become a well-edited, regularly updated database. I tell you, not much…
(Hat Tip: Cancer Genetics)
Some weeks ago, we launched the Medical Education Evolution project which aims to connect the tools of medicine 2.0 to traditional medical education. Now we have about 40 members and there are several active discussions about different aspects of the problem.
If you think you have visions and ideas about how to change medical education, please join us and tell us your opinion.
You should also check out the wiki Deirdre Bonnycastle just created.
About a year ago, I found an article mentioning WHO’s Wikipedia-based approach in revisioning ICD (international classification of diseases) and contacted them by e-mail. Later, some weeks ago, I was invited for a brainstorming to the centre of World Health Organization in the beautiful city of Geneva. I spent three days there and discussed how a wiki-like system could help making this process (the revision of ICD) more open and collaborative.
The centre of World Health Organization
Me on the top of WHO with the lake in the background
Le jet d’eau is really spectacular (140 metres high).
I guess PubMed users come together for a drink in ClubMed…
So those people working in WHO do a huge job. The ICD codes are the basic elements of any kind of health statistics and global healthcare-related decisions are based on these. If this revision process becomes open for all the physicians in the world, it will be even more efficient.
The first step of this long process is here.
That’s why a wiki-like system could be beneficial and that’s why they are really open to ideas and thoughts. I hope they could use my experience or knowledge or whatever I have in this field of medicine.
From now I will keep you posted about how WHO is using the advantages of web 2.0.
Google just launched its online encyclopaedia project, the so-called Knol. The whole blogosphere is talking about whether it can be a competitor to Wikipedia. Well, let’s put it that way: no, it can’t. An excerpt from their mission statement:
The Knol project is a site that hosts many knols — units of knowledge — written about various subjects. The authors of the knols can take credit for their writing, provide credentials, and elicit peer reviews and comments.
What if someone else has already written an article on that subject?
No problem, you can still write your own article. In fact, the Knol project is a forum for encouraging individual voices and perspectives on topics. As mentioned, no one else can edit your knol (unless you permit it) or mandate how you write about a topic. If you do a search on a topic, you may very well see more than one knol in the search results.
So I will have to find out which Knol is better. In Wikipedia, we merge different “Knols” into one article. So the readers can only see the best version. Doesn’t it sound better?
I believe in the wisdom of crowds (maybe because I’ve been a Wikipedia administrator for years now). You can pay people to create you a database of information; you can let people fight who can come up with the better article. But it can never be as accurate as Wikipedia is.
Some interesting posts covering the same topic: