Scholarly Practice

Wikipedia Article Appraisal in the Clinical Setting : Rapid appraisal of Wikipedia for patient use

Direct to Digital

By Denise Smith (Librarian)

While useful, patient information sheets are not the only source of information a patient consults after a visit with their physician. Patients interested in learning more about their health-related concerns often consult friends, family and peers who have had similar experiences. Patients are also likely to search for information online where a search engine is likely to retrieve a relevant Wikipedia article.

English Wikipedia Is one of the most frequently accessed web sites in the world and its health and medical pages are accessed more frequently than any other consumer health information web site in the USA Canada. Forthcoming research* suggests that patients who use Wikipedia to learn more about their health or medical concerns choose it because it is familiar, easy to read, and can provide helpful vocabulary that facilitates patient-clinician dialogue.

This video will demonstrate how 4 key points of appraisal can be used to rapidly assess a specific Wikipedia page as a suitable starting point for your patients. You’ll learn how to use the Talk Page, Article History, References, and your comfort to assess whether a specific article might suit the information need of your patient.

Denise Smith

Denise Smith (she/her) is an academic health sciences librarian at McMaster University. She is a Wikipedia researcher with expertise in Wikipedia as a consumer health information resource. She edits Wikipedia in her spare time and also serves on the United States & Canada Regional Committee for the Wikimedia Foundation Grants program.