HemOnc.org – A Free Hematology/Oncology Wiki Encyclopedia

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hemonc.orgBeing physicians, we need constant reading, researching and thriving for betterment in the way we manage our patients. In the old days, doctors used to go to seminars, attend conferences and have lectures on the latest updated literature every once in a while. Gone are those days. Now most of physicians use internet and medical apps for keeping themselves up-to-date with latest developments in medicine. But we still a lack a medical encyclopedia which is updated and run by doctors. Although many physician and non-physician based companies took the initiative to start a wiki-type encyclopedia most of them eventually failed.

I think part of the reason in failing of a medical wiki is to be having a very general broad approach of “all-in-one specialities”. One wiki cannot convince all speciality physicians to agree on a certain guidelines or criteria for diagnosing, managing or screening certain conditions. As most of national sub-speciality organization even differ on certain guidelines, this hinder the making of a large all-in-one medical encyclopedia.

The best approach to have a successful and promising medical wiki is to have a specialized-wiki in a medical sub-speciality much like HemOnc.org where physicians from the same speciality can make a wikiStarted by Peter Yang, MD who is a fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, this medical wiki specializes in developing an encyclopedia of hematology/oncology diseases. Till now, it has approximately 344 active articles related to their speciality and approximately 815 registered users who are editing it.

Although its new around on internet, who knows this medical wiki can develop into the largest hematology/oncology reference edited by free-lancing physicians.

After reviewing this wiki,I would suggest two things to the founders of this wiki. First, references should be added at the end of the articles instead of being at the end of each section. This will make the reading easier and more productive. Second, there should be some kind of verification of the users being registered, so that only medical professionals can edit this wiki.

I hope this wiki becomes successful and promising for the coming hematologists, which only time can tell. Lets see how this wiki turns out to be in next few years.

If you have any comments about this wiki, please write down below in comments section.

  • Hi Burhan, thank you for taking a look at the wiki and for your thoughts. Part of the reason I believe the wiki has been successful is that–18 months after it was founded–there is still a core group of physicians who are committed to keeping it continuously updated.

    Regarding your comments: “First, references should be added at the end of the articles instead of being at the end of each section.”

    We tried to choose a style of citation that is most appropriate for the type of page to make it easiest for people to look up the primary literature references. Some pages already have all references listed at the bottom of the page. For example, pages about medications contain all of the references cited at the end in usual Wikipedia fashion. However, we thought it would be too difficult to connect the cited papers in chemotherapy regimen pages with their regimens if they were just all grouped together at the bottom of the page–for example, we often like to look at an entire list of citations for a particular regimen–so we decided to have make separate reference lists for each individual regimen. I’m not sure if a single reference list’s benefits outweigh the downsides, as some Wikipedia articles have unwieldy and unorganized references lists, but we’ll think more about your suggestion.

    “there should be some kind of verification of the users being registered, so that only
    medical professionals can edit this wiki.”

    We already do this. Anyone can register for an account, but the account has no editing privileges until we personally contact the person who registered about their medical training and what they hope to do with the site. This makes the content reliable and the site vandalism-free.

    Kind regards,

    Peter Yang