James M Heilman

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James M Heilman is an author.


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Title Keyword(s) Published in Language DateThis property is a special property in this wiki. Abstract R C
Wikipedia: A Key Tool for Global Public Health Promotion Internet; Wikipedia; public health; health information; knowledge dissemination; patient education; medical education J Med Internet Res 2011 The Internet allows unprecedented opportunities for patients and the general public to retrieve health information from across the globe. Surveys have shown that online health information retrieval is both common and increasing 1-4. Population-based studies have shown that 61% of American and 52% of European citizens have consulted the Internet for health-related information on at least one occasion 1,4. Similarly, numerous cross-sectional surveys in patient populations have shown variable but considerable rates of eHealth activities 5-10. Physicians frequently report that patients have searched the Internet regarding health issues 11,12, although patients do not always discuss these online activities with their doctors 13,14. Among American e-patients, 44% said this information had a minor impact and 13% said it had a major impact on their decisions about health care 4. Websites offering medical information differ widely in their quality 15. While physicians should reasonably view trustworthy information as useful, some have voiced concerns that Internet information may undermine their authority and lead to self-treatment 13. Furthermore, incorrect medical information could result in patient harm. Indeed, about 3% of users of health care information feel that they or someone they know has been seriously harmed by Web-based information 4. A potential solution for these drawbacks is that physicians direct online health information seekers to quality resources. This so-called Internet prescription has been evaluated in a few randomized trials, which showed that it increases use of the recommended websites 16-18. Despite concerns over the quality of health websites, the 2005 Health On the Net survey found that medical Internet users value information availability and ease-of-finding more than accuracy and trustworthiness 13. General search engines, of which Google is the market leader in Western countries, appear to be the most common starting point for laypeople seeking health information, despite the existence of eHealth quality labels and special search engines to explore health information 4,10,13,19,20. Search engines commonly lead seekers to Wikipedia 21. In the 2009 Pew Internet survey on health information, 53% of e-patients had consulted Wikipedia (not necessarily related to health information) 4. This paper examines the role of Wikipedia as a provider of online health information. 0 1