Background: As more people seek health information online and take responsibility for their own health, it is crucial that they and their healthcare professionals are able to find credible and evidence-supported medical content. The place people are most likely to look for this information is Wikipedia. Through its partnership with WikiProject Medicine, the Cochrane Hypertension Group is trying to ensure that all health information about hypertension contained in Wikipedia is as accurate as possible.
Objectives: We sought to identify any dissimilarity between Cochrane Hypertension's library of systematic reviews and related Wikipedia pages, and to ensure that Wikipedia accurately reflected the evidence from the Hypertension reviews.
Methods: We analyzed 47 systematic reviews from the Cochrane Hypertension library. Each was compared to one or more Wikipedia articles that held information pertinent to the content of the reviews. Many of these articles made claims that were unsupported by clinical evidence. We corrected any information that was incorrectly cited or provided insufficient or inaccurate evidence.
Results: We made 34 edits to Wikipedia articles covering a wide spectrum of medical content. These included not recommending systolic blood pressure targets below 140 mmHg and accurately reflecting the evidence for and against dietary salt-reduction, amongst others. Thirty of the edits remain unchanged at the date of writing and will help to ensure the dissemination of accurate information on hypertensive interventions and treatments.
Conclusions: Our initial experience in getting Cochrane Hypertension evidence into Wikipedia was rewarding and mutually beneficial. Since Wikipedia information is constantly evolving, it is essential that we maintain, and continue to evaluate, this project.