HealthDay News – About 90% of health articles on Wikipedia contain errors, according to researchers.
“Since its launch in 2001, Wikipedia has become the most popular general reference site on the Internet and a popular source of health-care information,” wrote Robert Hasty, DO, of the Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in Buies Creek, N.C., and colleagues. Their findings were published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
Researchers compiled the 10 most costly conditions (in terms of public and private expenditures), and identified corresponding Wikipedia articles. In a blinded process, two randomly assigned investigators independently reviewed each article and identified all assertions.
Each reviewer then conducted a literature search to determine whether each assertion was supported by evidence. The assertions found by an individual reviewer were compared and analyzed to determine whether assertions made by Wikipedia for these conditions were supported by peer-reviewed sources.
Of the 10 selected articles, 9 of them had significant discordance when compared with their corresponding peer-reviewed sources (P<0.05 for all 9).
“Caution should be used when using Wikipedia to answer questions regarding patient care,” concluded the researchers.