The Wiki Way
For the purpose of our Internal Medicine Annual Report and anyone else who is curious about why we use the Wiki.
The department uses a collaboratively edited wiki to document its processes. The information is stored in a searchable, hyperlinked and categorized way to allow quick access, from the desk or mobile devices.
Any faculty or staff member can get an account to edit processes or ask questions. We know our people know their processes best, so we have replaced management-owned standard operating procedures with a documentation process that uses software facilitated change review to allow everyone to contribute to and understand the current best practices. Global edit rights mean that a document may be modified by a team member with a different perspective, who might work in a totally different corner of the department. Even if their contribution shows a misunderstanding of the processes or goals this is actually a success: if one person is on a different page there are probably others, and being aware of the misunderstanding then allows us to improve documentation (and quite possibly the process itself) and bring everyone closer to common ground.
To be sure, edits are fully logged and reversible. While honest errors are not sanctioned, the logging makes it possible to hold people accountable for malicious edits. The system notifies users when any pages in which they have marked an interest change, and it highlights the changed passages automatically.
As an additional benefit, the tagging of questions and concerns right in our documentation generates meta-data which effectively maps the gaps, tell us where improvement should focus, and tracks our progress over time.
Built-in annotation of the information allows the system to extract data, which is re-used across the entire body of documentation, limiting the effort to keep documents up-to-date. Semantic content annotation allows for querying of the content to re-use and aggregate documentation into other formats.
Our adoption of this philosophy is a reflection of our belief in breaking down silos and continuous improvement. We allow our processes and procedures to be public - if they are good there should be no reason not to be transparent about them, and if they are not good enough we would rather improve them than hide them.
The department's Service Redesign Team has experience setting up and running wikis, their semantic and software infrastructure, and other web hosted applications. This in-house expertise allows for the integration of process analysis and quality improvement with sustainable documentation. Over the implementation of several wikis we have gained experience with available features and effective initial seeding and ongoing gardening of content. If you have a research or other project that could benefit, contact the Service Redesign Team.
I think I have addressed the points above. It seemed to flow better without the headings, so I didn't add it in here, but please feel free to put headings in place if you think they make it easier to follow.
What the wiki can do for you
How does the Wiki relate to the philosophy of the department?
Why is our Wiki unique?
The data in this section is as of December 11, 2018.
How many people use the wiki? The internal medicine wiki has 82 registered users, of which 29 are active users who have edited pages in the last 30 days.
How many pages does the wiki have? The internal medicine wiki has 1,041 pages. Of these, 0 are pages about people in our department, and the rest are documenation about our programs and processes.
When did we start using the wiki? We started using the department of internal medicine wiki in April 2017. We have several more mature wikis, the earliest of which has been active since June 2008.
Others using wikis in a health care, research or operational environment
- NASA's Extra Vehicular Activity Wiki
- Use of a Wiki as a Radiology Departmental Knowledge Management System
- Intellipedia, often called the Central Intelligence Agency’s Wikipedia
- Diplopedia, in the State Department
I re-used from: