Scope, Completeness, and Accuracy of Drug Information in Wikipedia

Pharmacy Practice, College of Pharmacy-West Palm Beach, Nova Southeastern University, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410, USA.
Annals of Pharmacotherapy (Impact Factor: 2.06). 11/2008; 42(12):1814-21. DOI: 10.1345/aph.1L474
Source: PubMed


With the advent of Web 2.0 technologies, user-edited online resources such as Wikipedia are increasingly tapped for information. However, there is little research on the quality of health information found in Wikipedia.
To compare the scope, completeness, and accuracy of drug information in Wikipedia with that of a free, online, traditionally edited database (Medscape Drug Reference [MDR]).
Wikipedia and MDR were assessed on 8 categories of drug information. Questions were constructed and answers were verified with authoritative resources. Wikipedia and MDR were evaluated according to scope (breadth of coverage) and completeness. Accuracy was tracked by factual errors and errors of omission. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the components. Fisher's exact test was used to compare scope and paired Student's t-test was used to compare current results in Wikipedia with entries 90 days prior to the current access.
Wikipedia was able to answer significantly fewer drug information questions (40.0%) compared with MDR (82.5%; p < 0.001). Wikipedia performed poorly regarding information on dosing, with a score of 0% versus the MDR score of 90.0%. Answers found in Wikipedia were 76.0% complete, while MDR provided answers that were 95.5% complete; overall, Wikipedia answers were less complete than those in Medscape (p < 0.001). No factual errors were found in Wikipedia, whereas 4 answers in Medscape conflicted with the answer key; errors of omission were higher in Wikipedia (n = 48) than in MDR (n = 14). There was a marked improvement in Wikipedia over time, as current entries were superior to those 90 days prior (p = 0.024).
Wikipedia has a more narrow scope, is less complete, and has more errors of omission than the comparator database. Wikipedia may be a useful point of engagement for consumers, but is not authoritative and should only be a supplemental source of drug information.

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    • "The rapid increase in, and use of, online health information has no corresponding increase in the quality of available material which can be biased and there is little control over the timeliness of updates [6-8]. For example, a systematic review of websites offering advice on acute otitis media treatments identified 41% of sites still recommending antibiotics while only 31% recommended the updated guideline of ‘watch and wait’ [9]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background The quantum increases in home Internet access and available online health information with limited control over information quality highlight the necessity of exploring decision making processes in accessing and using online information, specifically in relation to children who do not make their health decisions. The aim of this study was to understand the processes explaining parents’ decisions to use online health information for child health care. Methods Parents (N = 391) completed an initial questionnaire assessing the theory of planned behaviour constructs of attitude, subjective norm, and perceived behavioural control, as well as perceived risk, group norm, and additional demographic factors. Two months later, 187 parents completed a follow-up questionnaire assessing their decisions to use online information for their child’s health care, specifically to 1) diagnose and/or treat their child’s suspected medical condition/illness and 2) increase understanding about a diagnosis or treatment recommended by a health professional. Results Hierarchical multiple regression showed that, for both behaviours, attitude, subjective norm, perceived behavioural control, (less) perceived risk, group norm, and (non) medical background were the significant predictors of intention. For parents’ use of online child health information, for both behaviours, intention was the sole significant predictor of behaviour. The findings explain 77% of the variance in parents’ intention to treat/diagnose a child health problem and 74% of the variance in their intentions to increase their understanding about child health concerns. Conclusions Understanding parents’ socio-cognitive processes that guide their use of online information for child health care is important given the increase in Internet usage and the sometimes-questionable quality of health information provided online. Findings highlight parents’ thirst for information; there is an urgent need for health professionals to provide parents with evidence-based child health websites in addition to general population education on how to evaluate the quality of online health information.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2012 · BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making
    • "They also seek this information actively from a variety of other sources, increasingly including the Internet (Council of Europe 2007, Närhi and Helakorpi 2007, Närhi 2007, Pohjanoksa-Mäntylä 2010). Even though needed, the Internet-based information on health and medicines has found to be highly variable (Eysenbach et al. 2002, Graber and Weckmann 2002, Clauson et al. 2008, Reavley and Jorm 2011, Prusti et al. 2012). These new modes of communication provide new opportunities, but also create new challenges for health care providers and policymakers. "

    No preview · Article · Nov 2012 · Research in Social and Administrative Pharmacy
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    • "The Wikipedia corpus contains a vast category graph on top of its articles and a study [12] shows that Wikipedia is the most sought online resource for basic medical information. It is, however, determined [3] to be only a good starting point and that is exactly how we use Wikipedia in our framework. Note that for purely medical purposes recent community efforts like MedPedia 3 can also be used. "
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    ABSTRACT: In domain-specific search systems, knowledge of a domain of interest is embedded as a backbone that guides the search process. But the knowledge used in most such systems 1. exists only for few well known broad domains; 2. is of a basic nature: either purely hierarchical or involves only few relationship types; and 3. is not always kept up-to-date missing insights from recently published results. In this paper we present a framework and implementation of a focused and up-to-date knowledge-based search system, called Scooner, that utilizes domain-specific knowledge extracted from recent bioscience abstracts. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt in the field to address all three shortcomings mentioned above. Since recent introduction for operational use at Applied Biotechnology Branch of AFRL, some biologists are using Scooner on a regular basis, while it is being made available for use by many more. Initial evaluations point to the promise of the approach in addressing the challenge we set out to address.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2012
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