One of the major themes linking medicine and technology is the concept of a wiki-driven medical knowledge database.
This goes beyond Wikipedia, although the concept is exactly the same.
The benefits of a wiki-driven medical database include features such a continually updated set of notes and checklists that allow for rapid reference of key information.
The WikEM app is now in its third incarnation and available for iOS devices and Android devices.
All content is stored locally on the app and automatically updates when you open the app. This is a quick process and ensures that you always have the latest information from the main site.
There are five main tabs available from the main menu: Categories, All Titles, Find, Personal Notes and Update.
The Categories tab contains a menu system which is initially divided by specialty. There are also a few general categories such as ‘Drugs’, ‘Procedures’ etc. The majority of specialties are represented and the basic straightforward menu system allows you to drill down and find the desired information quickly.
Each page is laid out in the same fashion depending on what type it is (eg General, Drug, Procedure etc). The general layout is shown below:
- Clinical Features
- See Also
The See Also section is quite useful as it often links to related articles, though, there is limited hyperlinking between topics in the text itself. Some notes include tables and images, although the majority of notes are simply text based. While this is generally not a problem, the overall utility of the content could be improved by including more images.
If you cannot find the page you want through the normal menu system, then the alternative is to search the index or use the ‘Find’ function. This searches the full text of all the articles which is very useful as some terms are found in multiple notes.
The Update tab shows when the database was last checked and also offers the opportunity to manually check for any new updates.
As this is a community driven resource, these standards are not always followed since the subject area does not always lend itself to this.
Perhaps the biggest strength of a wiki driven resource is also its biggest weakness–the community input. Certain notes were extremely comprehensive, whereas there were other notes which did not have any significant detail. There were even one or two notes which had no entries whatsoever. This is somewhat frustrating, as nobody wants to be using a set of notes which aren’t fully comprehensive.
One way which WikEM tries to circumvent this is with the option for users to edit notes while on the move using the mobile device. Alternatively, users can just make their own notes to be stored locally on the device.
Users should note that WikEM started off as a collection of notes and checklists passed down from resident to resident in the Harbor-UCLA EM Residency Program for over a decade. As such, there are often notes which refer specifically to guidelines and procedures in this program.
- Ability to edit articles on the go
- Automatically update
- Wide range of comprehensive concise notes
- Not complete set of notes and sections sometimes missing
- Limited use of images
- Evidence not often given or noted when it was last updated.
- As emergency medicine resources go, this is a comprehensive collection of useful notes related to a range of specialties. The WikEM resource is only likely to become more useful over time as more and more users contribute. Residents and medical students will find this app particularly useful for its broad range of content and concise high-yield facts.
Rating: (1 to 5 stars) 3
1. User Interface -3
2. Multimedia usage- 1
3. Price -5
4. Real world applicability- 4
This post does not establish, nor is it intended to establish, a patient physician relationship with anyone. It does not substitute for professional advice, and does not substitute for an in-person evaluation with your health care provider. It does not provide the definitive statement on the subject addressed. Before using these apps please consult with your own physician or health care provider as to the apps validity and accuracy as this post is not intended to affirm the validity or accuracy of the apps in question. The app(s) mentioned in this post should not be used without discussing the app first with your health care provider.