Study: 90 percent of health-related Wikipedia articles contain errors

July 1, 2014

A recent study published in the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association found significant errors in nine out of 10 Wikipedia articles related to the 10 most-costly diseases and conditions in the United States.

Wikipedia has become a go-to source for healthcare information for both patient and practitioner, according to the study abstract. Researchers compared information found on Wikipedia about costly medical conditions with evidence-based, peer-reviewed sources.

The study reviewed the Wikipedia pages for:

• Coronary artery disease

• Lung cancer

• Major depressive disorder

• Osteoarthritis

• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

• Hypertension

• Diabetes mellitus

• Back pain

• Hyperlipidemia.

It’s not just patients searching for information on their conditions who are getting the wrong information-researchers say as many as 70% of doctors and medical students use Wikipedia, too.

The study concluded that all users-patient and practitioner-should exercise caution when using Wikipedia as a source for medical information. Most articles on those conditions contained errors when compared to peer-reviewed sources, researchers say.