Brian Dear has an intriguing idea:
Imagine WikiHealth or WikiMed, an open, collaborative health database written by everyone in the world? If millions of people could contribute articles on health and well-being, diseases, treatments, symptoms, remedies, and personal experience with what worked and what didn’t with prescriptions, would the world be better off? Are you currently happy with the state of medical knowledge on the web? If you or someone you know is suffering from some condition, and you type the name of the condition into Google, are you satisfied you’re getting good results? In an age where, at least in the U.S., doctors are less and less likely to give you the time of day let alone spend time with you going into detail about everything there is to know about a condition, wouldn’t it be useful if there were an online resource with a strict NPOV (neutral point of view) containing in-depth encyclopedia information about health-related subjects?
WikiHealth. WikiMed. (Don’t bother, the domains are taken — maybe there’s hope!) But you get the idea: a worldwide open collaborative compendium of practical health and medical knowledge. Isn’t it time such a service existed?
Yes. Yes it is. For another example, there’s a related idea floating around CommerceNet’s healthcare team that it would be interesting to drop the NPOV and offer parametrized search — imagine if, for more controversial complementary-medicine theories, patients/advocates could just submit their anecdotal stories, but then you could ask for stories “similar” to your own to see what’s out there. In any case, WikiMed could be quite personalized to your medical “ideology” and idiopathy…
[Kind of like how the CreativeCommons search engine is only a slight, but suggestive, parametric constraint on ordinary Nutch searches]