Could Wikipedia replace GP’s?

Woman on a computer image

Online encyclopaedia is cited to be wrong in nine out of 10 health articles

American researchers have warned internet users to steer clear of medical advice offered on popular information site Wikipedia as it discovered that nine out of 10 of the health articles contained incorrect information.

Looking at popular pieces on conditions such as heart disease, lung cancer, depression and diabetes, the experts found “many errors” within the content, emphasising that people should speak to their GP if they have health concerns and not head online.

Right information

Wikipedia is a charity, with 30 million articles in 285 languages. Although the pieces can be edited by anyone, British branch Wikimedia UK explains that volunteers from the medical profession check the medical pages for inaccuracies. However this open-access nature has “raised concern” among doctors about its reliability, with 70% of physicians and medical students use the tool.

Lead author Dr Robert Hasty, of the Wallace School of Osteopathic Medicine in North Carolina, told BBC News “While Wikipedia is a convenient tool for conducting research, from a public health standpoint patients should not use it as a primary resource because those articles do not go through the same peer-review process as medical journals.”