It is the launch of Medpedia - a new Wiki created through the combined efforts of Havard Medical School, the Stanford Medical School, the University of California Berkely School of Public Health, and the University of Michigan Medical School.
Looking at the scope of Medpedia, it is an effort worthy of such a collaboration. The content will include, but not be limited to, extensive profiles of conditions, medical procedures, drugs, and anatomy, to name a few. The emergence of Medpedia on the health care scene at this particular juncture of digital media development stands to have a huge impact on a number of medical stakeholders, including policy makers, medical socieities, developers of treatment guidelines and drug makers.
In time, with the right search engine optimization, Medpedia topics will be very high up on the Google search when a person enters in a specific drug name. When given a choice of learning about the drug from (1) the manufacturer or (2) an objective third party source representing the finest medical schools in the country, patients and physicians are likely to gravitate to the objective resource. When a Congressional staffer enters the term "follow-on-biologic" the Medpedia entry may be one of the first thing he or she sees and goes to learn. In other words, the influence of Medpedia on prescribers, patients and all stakeholder stands to be quite large.
Medpedia is seeking input in the form of entries from anyone with a medical background, which will be edited by those who are, in fact, doctors. On giong to the site, I checked out a few conditions and found very good explanations for causes and descriptions in prevention and the nature of the condition. Treatment profiles, however, for some of the high profile drugs I looked at are not yet in place, blank pages waiting for someone to write on them.
Some pharmaceutical companies may not be certain that they should get involved. Those that choose not to will have their brands shaped for them by someone else. Medical socieities may also not see this as a priority. However, with the increase in on-line physician communities competing for membership attention, it is important for medical societies to get in front of this, and perhaps even organize ways for membership to participate in order to stay relevant to their memberships. According to the New York Times, the American Heart Association has already moved on this.
Medpedia is not just another launch of another online resource, it represents a game-changing milestone for a wealth of reasons.
First, it signifies another leap in the reality and reach of digital media while regulatory bodies around the world continue to pretend like nothing is happening. That leads to the second, which is that brand control, for companies not anticipating, analyzing and strategically responding to digital media developments, is becoming more and more elusive as the brand becomes shaped by digital media participants. Third and foremost, it signifies a new pinnacle for not only patient-self-help and learning in the online community, but with the advent of the increasingly substantial physician on-line communities like Sermo and Physician Connect, for physicians on the front lines of practice to have direct participation and influence in how patients perceive their respective areas of expertise.
In anticipation of the launch, a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak with James Currier, Founder and Chairman of Medpedia. He talks about the goals and aims of Medipedia, how it workds, how he sees it integrating into the existing playing field and how stakeholders can and should be working with Medpedia on content. He is the visionary kind of person who will be able to make this into a major player in the healthcare industry.
The podcast with James Currier, founder and head of Medpedia, runs about 12 minutes.