Main Cleveland Newspaper Features a Cleveland Clinic-based Wiki

The Plain Dealer is the major newspaper in Cleveland and we are lucky to have Pulitzer-winning journalists writing for it. I especially enjoy the Friday section which lists many "things to do" for the weekend: festivals, museums, etc.

On Thursday, the front page of The Plain Dealer featured AskDrWiki, a medical wiki created by 4 cardiology fellows at the Cleveland Clinic. I know Ken Civello and Brian Jefferson and I think that they are incredibly bright and have a great future in front of them.

The medical wiki in question has unique, high-quality content, for example, more than 90 free videos of cardiac catheterizations. I can see web sites like AskDrWiki, maintained by experts, becoming competitors to UpToDate and other paid resources. UpToDate is useful but it charges "an arm and a leg" for individual subscriptions. Few companies can compete with free, if the quality is comparable. Look what happened to the once mighty encyclopedia Britannica -- it is gradually becoming irrelevant, out shined by the ever growing Wikipedia.

Medical wikis have several limitations to overcome to be recognized as trustworthy, and we have discussed them many times with Ken and Brian. They have one quality which likens them to Sergey Brin and Larry Page of Google - they attentively listen to requests and advice by users. For example, after David Rothman suggested a tighter control on who can edit the wiki, Ken and Brian introduced registration to insure that only medical professionals are registered as contributors. This is just on of the many problem solutions along the way of making medical wikis mainstream but it is a step in the right direction.

I do stay by my quote in The Plain Dealer article: "Sites like AskDrWiki will change the way we study and teach medicine."

For additional coverage (positive and negative) of AskDrWiki, please check:

Ask Dr Wiki vs medicine in Wikipedia.ScienceRoll.

Cleveland Plain Dealer on Medical Wikis.

My own opinion is here: Medical Wikis May Change the Way We Study Medicine

Ken, one of AskDrWiki founders, started a blog which he will use to post announcements about the wiki, and most importantly, to ask for feedback from you -- students, physicians, nurses and general readers of medical blogs. Please welcome Ken to the medical blogosphere and Grand Rounds. He definitely has something interesting to say. Featuring interesting EKGs of the week doesn't hurt either.

Same excuses.
Medical wikis: the future of medicine? ScienceRoll.
Medscape interview w/ Bertalan Meskó (Medical Wikis) ScienceRoll.
Technology for the rest of us: Easy to use wikis. Tobias Buckell, BloggingStocks.

Image source:, The Plain Dealer.


  1. Timely post for me.
    I took what I thought was a big step this weekend and published a new technique I developed for robotic surgery on my blog and google video instead of a journal.
    I had the idea of making a robotic surgery series on my blog.

    I am hoping to add other pieces as well from other people and have control of what goes on it to keep only decent stuff there. This addresses one issue I would have with the wiki: making sure legitimate authorities are writing.

  2. Thanks for sharing the idea and the video. You are a true Web 2.0-surgeon :)

    You should still submit it to a journal, if you want to get it published in the peer-reviewed literature. One thing does not exclude the other as long as the journal publishers do not mind that the online publication occurred before the printed one. I still publish many things at meetings and journals and continue to enjoy it. Blogs and wikis will not replace the peer-reviewed literature in a foreseeable future (if ever).