IMS Informatics releases Wikipedia/Social Media Correlations

Found out from Rachel Feltman at Quartz that IMS Institutie for Health Informatics has released a very comprehensive report titled “Engaging Patients on Social Media“. Here is the link to their Press Release on the same. (Apparently IMS is not “into” human readable and/or stable urls.)

The simplified title belies the complexity of the release here, which is basically IMS correlating things that are happing on the web in social media and wikipedia, with the tremendous amount of healthcare system data that they are privy to. I was most interested in the conclusions they put forward regarding Wikipedia. From the report:

  • Wikipedia is the leading single source of healthcare information for patients and healthcare professionals.
  • Visits to Wikipedia pages are higher for rarer diseases than for common diseases.
  • Wikipedia is used throughout the entire patient journey, not just at the point of treatment initiation or change in therapy.
  • Correlation between Wikipedia use and medicine use can be identified for a large number of disease areas.
  • Younger people tend to investigate conditions and treatment options online before treatment is started whereas patients of age 50+ tend to start their treatment first and then seek information online thereafter.
  • Content incorporated or changed at healthcare related Wikipedia pages is subject to constant change, often overseen by informal or formal working groups.
  • At least half of all healthcare related changes on assessed Wikipedia disease articles are changes to patient relevant information.

These are pretty profound conclusions and it is worth reading the whole report carefully. IMS needs to be applauded for releasing this type of treasure trove of healthcare insights.

Here is a graphic from their separately published figures.


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