The pilot Web site hosted by the Joint Commission doesn't look much like Wikipedia, but it operates on a similar "wiki" premisean open exchange of information that can be edited by anyone who joins.
WikiHealthCare is the latest player in the growing, ever-morphing world of wiki, which refers to a whole slew of hosting platforms, development codes, and topics from learning to speak Armenian to property for sale in Thailand. The commission's motivation was to create a space where healthcare providers, administrators, researchers and other professionals could develop a collaborative environment and share ideas, said Jerod Loeb, executive vice president of quality measurements and research for the Joint Commission department of health services research.
"That's the beauty of 'wiki' technology, it affords mass collaboration in real time," he said.
Registered users can edit existing topics and suggest new ones, upload content and network with fellow users. Currently there are only two topics on the site as the commission in partnership with the Smoking Cessation Leadership Center at the University of California at San Francisco, tests the popularity of its latest venture. The smoking cessation center provided a research grant to partly fund the site.
While the commission claims the site has more than 1,500 users, there are only about 10 people now posting to the site. Loeb said he hopes the number of users updating content grows as more topics are added. The commission will monitor the use of the new site through the month and report to its executive committee in October to determine the progress of use.
Napoleon Knight, vice president of medical affairs at 474-bed Carle Foundation Hospital, Urbana, Ill., said he registered to network with colleagues.
"You're always looking to see where you can get ideas for improvement," he said. He added that in the fast-paced world of healthcare, practitioners are looking for a "shortcut to resources."
Peggy Keigley, director of Seton Health Center for Smoking Cessation, Troy, N.Y., signed up for the site in June, after she heard what initial two topics would be discussed. Seton Health had just rolled out a tobacco-free initiative with 19 facilities participating in upstate New York, and she wanted to share the group's rollout model (one comment to her post thanked her for the "fascinating" information). In addition, she hoped to find her own resources and best practices.
"Anything that sets up a collective form of communication is good for me," Keigley said, praising the commission for taking an innovative approach to collaboration.
The commission also hopes to expand the pilot. It would like to see practitioners from its accredited organizations use the "wiki" site as a forum to provide suggestions and feedback as the commission develops new standards and accreditation rules. While there is already involvement on the part of accredited organizations, the "wiki" site is a way to leverage technology in increasing participation, said Scott Williams, associate director of quality measurements and research in the commission's health services research department.
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