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Wikipedia and osteosarcoma: a trustworthy patients' information?

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA

Consumer Health Information, Encyclopedias as Topic, Humans, Internet, National Cancer Institute (U.S.), Osteosarcoma, Quality of Health Care, Bone Neoplasms, United States

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      Abstract

      The English version of the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, has been recently reported to be the prominent source of online health information. However, there is little information concerning the quality of information found in Wikipedia. Therefore, we created a questionnaire asking for scope, completeness, and accuracy of information found on osteosarcoma. Three independent observers tested the English version of Wikipedia, as well as the patient version and the health professional version of the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) website. Answers were verified with authoritative resources and international guidelines. The results of our study demonstrate that the quality of osteosarcoma-related information found in the English Wikipedia is good but inferior to the patient information provided by the NCI. Therefore, non-peer-reviewed commonly used websites offering health information, such as Wikipedia, should include links to more definitive sources, such as those maintained by the NCI and professional international organizations on healthcare treatments. Furthermore, frequent checks should make sure such external links are to the highest quality and to the best-maintained aggregate sites on a given healthcare topic.

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      Most cited references 6

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      Osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, and Ewing's sarcoma: National Cancer Data Base Report.

      We summarize descriptive epidemiologic and survival data from the National Cancer Data Base of the American College of Surgeons for 26,437 cases of osteosarcoma (n = 11,961), chondrosarcoma (n = 9606), and Ewing's sarcoma (n = 4870) from 1985 to 2003. Survival data are reported on cases with a minimum 5-year followup from 1985 to 1998 (8,104 osteosarcomas, 6,476 chondrosarcomas, and 3,225 Ewing's sarcomas). The relative 5-year survival rate was 53.9% for osteosarcoma, 75.2% for chondrosarcoma, and 50.6% for Ewing's sarcoma. Survival rates did not change notably over the collection period. Within osteosarcomas, the relative 5-year survival rates were 52.6% for high grade, 85.9% for parosteal, and 17.8% for Paget's subtypes. For osteosarcoma patients, the relative 5-year survival rate was 60% for those younger than 30 years, 50% for those aged 30 to 49 years, and 30% for those aged 50 years or older. Within chondrosarcomas, the relative 5-year survival rate was 76% for conventional, 71% for myxoid, 87% for juxtacortical, and 52% for mesenchymal. While the National Cancer Data Base has limitations, the survival data and demographics for bone sarcomas are unprecedented in numbers and duration. Our report supports continued efforts to refine data collection and stimulate further data analysis.
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        Seeking health information online: does Wikipedia matter?

        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.
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          Junior physician's use of Web 2.0 for information seeking and medical education: a qualitative study.

          Web 2.0 internet tools and methods have attracted considerable attention as a means to improve health care delivery. Despite evidence demonstrating their use by medical professionals, there is no detailed research describing how Web 2.0 influences physicians' daily clinical practice. Hence this study examines Web 2.0 use by 35 junior physicians in clinical settings to further understand their impact on medical practice. Diaries and interviews encompassing 177 days of internet use or 444 search incidents, analyzed via thematic analysis. Results indicate that 53% of internet visits employed user-generated or Web 2.0 content, with Google and Wikipedia used by 80% and 70% of physicians, respectively. Despite awareness of information credibility risks with Web 2.0 content, it has a role in information seeking for both clinical decisions and medical education. This is enabled by the ability to cross check information and the diverse needs for background and non-verified information. Web 2.0 use represents a profound departure from previous learning and decision processes which were normally controlled by senior medical staff or medical schools. There is widespread concern with the risk of poor quality information with Web 2.0 use, and the manner in which physicians are using it suggest effective use derives from the mitigating actions by the individual physician. Three alternative policy options are identified to manage this risk and improve efficiency in Web 2.0's use.
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            Author and article information

            Journal
            20595302
            2995655
            10.1136/jamia.2010.004507

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