Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?

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Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter? is a 2009 publication written in English by Michaël R. Laurent, Tim J. Vickers and published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA.

[edit] Abstract

OBJECTIVE To determine the significance of the English Wikipedia as a source of online health information. DESIGN The authors measured Wikipedia's ranking on general Internet search engines by entering keywords from MedlinePlus, NHS Direct Online, and the National Organization of Rare Diseases as queries into search engine optimization software. We assessed whether article quality influenced this ranking. The authors tested whether traffic to Wikipedia coincided with epidemiological trends and news of emerging health concerns, and how it compares to MedlinePlus. MEASUREMENTS Cumulative incidence and average position of Wikipedia compared to other Web sites among the first 20 results on general Internet search engines (Google, Google UK, Yahoo, and MSN, and page view statistics for selected Wikipedia articles and MedlinePlus pages. RESULTS Wikipedia ranked among the first ten results in 71-85% of search engines and keywords tested. Wikipedia surpassed MedlinePlus and NHS Direct Online (except for queries from the latter on Google UK), and ranked higher with quality articles. Wikipedia ranked highest for rare diseases, although its incidence in several categories decreased. Page views increased parallel to the occurrence of 20 seasonal disorders and news of three emerging health concerns. Wikipedia articles were viewed more often than MedlinePlus Topic (p = 0.001) but for MedlinePlus Encyclopedia pages, the trend was not significant (p = 0.07-0.10). CONCLUSIONS Based on its search engine ranking and page view statistics, the English Wikipedia is a prominent source of online health information compared to the other online health information providers studied.

[edit] References

This publication has 55 references. Only those references related to wikis are included here:

  • "Use of the internet and e-mail for health care information: Results from a national survey" (create it!) [search]
  • "Frequency of health-related search terms on the internet" (create it!) [search]
  • "Health on the Net Foundation. Analysis of 9th HON survey of health and medical internet users, winter 2004–2005" (create it!) [search]
  • "The patient–physician relationship in the internet age: Future prospects and the research agenda" (create it!) [search]
  • "Patient internet use for health information at three urban primary care clinics" (create it!) [search]
  • "The Health Literacy of America’s Adults: Results from the 2003 National Assessment of Adult Literacy" (create it!) [search]
  • "How do consumers search for and appraise health information on the World Wide Web? Qualitative study using focus groups, usability tests, and in-depth interviews" (create it!) [search]
  • "Adolescents searching for health information on the internet: An observational study" (create it!) [search]
  • "Setting the public agenda for online health search: A white paper and action agenda" (create it!) [search]
  • "MedlinePlus. Building and maintaining the National Library of Medicine∗s consumer health Web Service" (create it!) [search]
  • "Diving Deeper Into Online Health Search - Examining Why People Trust Internet Content & The Impact Of User-Generated Media" (create it!) [search]
  • "Use of internet audience measurement data to gauge market share for online health information services" (create it!) [search]
  • "Cancer internet search activity on a major search engine, United States 2001–2003" (create it!) [search]
  • "Detecting influenza epidemics using search engine query data" (create it!) [search]
  • "Language preferences on websites and in Google searches for human health and food information" (create it!) [search]
  • "Is e-health progressing faster than e-health researchers?" (create it!) [search]
  • "Recommendations for future efforts in community health promotion—Report of the National Expert Panel on Community Health Promotion" (create it!) [search]
  • "Informatics in radiology: RadiologyWiki.org: The free radiology resource that anyone can edit" (create it!) [search]
  • "Introducing Wikisurgery.com: The blueprint for a surgical architecture of participation" (create it!) [search]
  • "A scientific “wiki” bridging the rift between three-dimensional structure and function of biomacromolecules" (create it!) [search]
  • "ArrayWiki: an enabling technology for sharing public microarray data repositories and meta-analyses" (create it!) [search]
  • "Pdb: A database dedicated to amyloid precursor proteins" (create it!) [search]
  • "Calling on a million minds for community annotation in WikiProteins" (create it!) [search]

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