You might think that Medpedia is a subsidiary of Jimmy Wales’ popular Wikipedia but actually it isn’t. This collaborative encyclopedia which focuses on health care is developed by a Web entrepreneur called James Currier. Version 1.0 of the online Medpedia platform was released in beta on Feb 17, 2009.
Its main objective is to provide reference source for both medical professionals and the lay-public covering information about health, medicine and the body, forum for individuals and groups to be recognized for their areas of expertise and many more. Unlike Wikipedia, Medpedia only allows professionals to write and contribute to the website, hence there will not be many articles as compared to other social online encyclopedias. However, non-physicians can also play a part in making the platform a better place for people to gain knowledge from by suggesting changes that must be approved by an editor before it goes live.
“We haven’t yet brought the basic Web 2.0 infrastructure to the medical industry,” Mr. Currier said. “Medicine is one of the least developed areas of the Internet, but could be the most transformed by it.”
According to a press report by Medpedia, “The Medpedia collaborative knowledge base provides medical professionals and organizations a central place to record their knowledge and receive national and international recognition and visibility for their expertise. Since the announcement of The Medpedia Project in July 2008, over 110 organizations have contributed or pledged over 7,000 pages of content to the knowledge base, and thousands of people have become a part of the community.”
Said Gary Ashby, Programme Director for the National Health Service Choices in the UK, “NHS Choices, the digital front door to the National Health Service in England, is delighted to be involved with the Medpedia project. Collecting the best information about medicine and health and sharing it freely worldwide is an important initiative that could eventually improve and even save many thousands of lives. It’s something we are proud to be a part of.”
Currently, Medpedia is working with fellow organizations and associations such as the prestigious Harvard Medical School, The Stanford School of Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School and the Berkeley School of Public Health.