The University of California at San Francisco has launched an exciting new new program that allows medical students to earn academic credit for editing medical content on Wikipedia.
Dr. Amin Azzam, an associate clinical professor at the school, says the program will improve one of the most commonly used medical reference resources. By upgrading Wikipedia, patients and health care professionals around the world will have better access to a more accurate resource.
Medical Content on Wikipedia Needs Improvement
Azzam says Wikipedia is a resource frequently used by students as well as the general public, but the quality and accuracy of medical articles is in question. Currently less than one percent of Wikipedia’s medical articles are recognized as expert quality. For this to be a truly valuable resource, he says, it must be complete, thorough, and easy to understand.
Since a key part of the education process for new medical students is to find, evaluate, and interpret medical information, this is an outstanding opportunity for students to author content as well as reference it. Medical students will also get practice writing medical information that the public will understand and be able to use.
When people have better access to medical information, they will be able to make better health care choices. According to Azzam, this is also a key strategy for giving the next generation of doctors exposure to the technology that will be used most by the public.