A study, published on Oct 31st, 2017 in the Journal of Medical
Internet Research Medical Education, has found that Wikipedia helps
Canadian medical students improve their knowledge of medical content.
Wikipedia was compared to UpToDate, a subscription based online
medical resource, and a standard medical textbook.

The authors conducted a randomized controlled trial of 116 medical
students from four Canadian medical schools. Students initially wrote
a multiple choice exam similar to that used for licensing Canadian
physicians. They were then randomized to one of three electronic
resources, Wikipedia, UpToDate, or Harrison’s textbook of Internal
Medicine and had 30 minutes to use their assigned resource. During
this time, they were observed for compliance and had the opportunity
to take notes. The students then rewrote their original exam, armed
with the notes taken while using their resource.

The primary outcome was improvement in tests scores before and after
accessing the assigned resource. The authors found that medical
students assigned to Wikipedia had a statistically significant greater
improvement in test scores, compared to the medical textbook and a
trend towards improved performance as compared to UpToDate.

Full study available under an open license at

James Heilman
MD, CCFP-EM, Wikipedian
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