Web Site Launched by Cleveland Clinic Physicians Questioned
Several Cleveland Clinic physicians recently launched the Web site Ask Dr Wiki -- a medical version of Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that users can edit -- but critics have raised concerns about the reliability of the new site, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports. Four physicians -- Ken Civello, a Cleveland Clinic cardiology fellow, Brian Jefferson, Shane Bailey and Mike McWilliams, who specialize in cardiology and electrophysiology -- launched the Web site in November 2006.
Although the public can access the Web site, most users are health care professionals. According to the Web site, credentialed physicians, nurses, technicians and medical students can "publish your clinical notes, pearls, EKGs, X-ray images and coronary angiograms and venograms."
Civello said that the Web site can benefit physicians because the information is available at no cost and is updated as new developments occur. In addition, patients can benefit because physicians who use the Web site are aware of the latest research developments and techniques, Civello said.
Most of the information currently on the Web site involves cardiology and electrophysiology, but "critics say expansion creates loopholes for inferior information because the four editors of Ask Dr Wiki are not authorities in every medical field," according to the Plain Dealer.
David Rothman, the author of a blog for medical librarians, wrote, "Medical information is used to make potentially life-changing decisions," adding, "The consequences of inaccurate information could be extremely harmful" (Lewis, Cleveland Plain Dealer, 3/29).