Modern Healthcare reports that the Joint Commission is piloting the Wiki concept for collaboration on health care topics.

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.

So, I visited the Joint Commission's health care wiki. The set up and organizational framework around their wiki is impressive. The JC has obviously put a lot of time and effort into this pilot. As of this afternoon there are over 1,700 registered users.

Unfortunately, the only topics allowed on the site are Smoking Cessation Counseling Programs and Smoke Free Hospital Campus (yawn). Both topics are funded by grants – I guess to ensure that someone will actually contribute content. A pretty conservative approach.

An important factor in the success of Web 2.0 sites is the credibility
of the site and the group behind it. The JC has a leg up in this regard, as the number of registered users attests. The site has received numerous suggestions for additional topics, ranging from those centered on National Patient Safety Goals (a natural for a site like this), to the more unlikely (Micro Ionized Water and its effect on acid-alkaline balance for disease prevention). In the spirit of things, I suggested the topic Reporting Adverse Events and Near-Misses, something that must improve significantly if we're going to improve patient safety.

For all their credibility, and the apparent interest in participating, the JC doesn't seem committed to making the site a success. According to the site:

The WikiHealthCare site is currently being tested as a pilot project.
The initial focus of the pilot is smoking cessation, and a decision has
not yet been made with respect to when additional topics, such as those
suggested below, will be added to the site (i.e., during or after the
pilot project). Stay tuned, and keep your suggestions coming. Thanks.

The JC wiki is going to get a lot of traffic over the next few days. If they don't quickly provide topics beyond smoking to draw participants the site will lose momentum. You've got to figure only a subset of those visiting in the next few days will even bother to return later to see if the JC is really going to do the wiki and open it up to additional topics. The percentage of those returning a third or fourth time to check will quickly decline to almost nothing. (The JC does have the email address of everyone who's registered, so they could notify that subset of folks – and they could do another press release later announcing a “launch”.) The point is that users won't wait around for the JC to make up their mind, and the interest level generated by another press release later announcing the “go live” likely won't match the interest level right now.

Treating their new wiki like they do national patient safety goals will be the kiss of death. So, let's hope the JC takes the plunge in true wiki fashion and opens new topics ASAP.