www.askdrwiki.com). Like Wikipedia, the site features user-created content—but in this case, the contributors have to be credentialed doctors or nurses."/> www.askdrwiki.com). Like Wikipedia, the site features user-created content—but in this case, the contributors have to be credentialed doctors or nurses."/>

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    Wiki for physicians gains foothold

    Did you ever wish there was a way for you to contribute your practical knowledge to a website for physicians? Well, several cardiologists at the Cleveland Clinic have created just such a site, called Dr. Wiki (www.askdrwiki.com). Like Wikipedia, the site features user-created content—but in this case, the contributors have to be credentialed doctors or nurses.

    The information on the site includes both evidence-based-medicine articles and practical tips on how to do procedures and diagnose uncommon conditions. The idea is to give physicians fast access to relevant information that can help answer their questions at the point of care, says Dr. Wiki cofounder and cardiologist Ken Civello.

    Of course, there are a number of EBM sites that provide this kind of data, such as Uptodate, BMJ Clinical Evidence, and DynaMed. But Civello points out that sites like these can be quite expensive, whether you subscribe to them or pay for each use. Consequently, while large academic institutions and physician groups can afford to supply these resources to physicians, community hospitals and smaller practices usually don't have access to them. But Dr. Wiki is free.

    Civello stresses that the wiki prizes contributions from physicians in private practice as much as from academics. Moreover, he points out, the technology enables doctors to correct and improve each other's submissions. "The idea behind a wiki is that the community as a whole is more of an expert than the individual expert who may reside in an academic center. A group consensus opinion will be as or more powerful than any individual opinion."

    Dr. Wiki, which has seen its "hits" double every month since it started last November, is now expanding from cardiology and electrophysiology into other specialties, including dermatology, vascular medicine, clinical pharmacology, and women's health.

    Ken Terry
    The author is a former senior editor of Medical Economics.

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