How much time do you waste searching for the information you need to get work done? If you own a small medical practice, how much time does your staff spend retrieving information? Internal wikis are a simple tool to help medical practices operate more efficiently. 

What are internal wikis? 

Like the popular online encyclopedia Wikipedia, a wiki refers to a set of associated documents that allow collective authorship. Internal wikis are internal centralized knowledge repositories where employees can add, edit, and maintain content relevant to a business.

Your medical practice could use an internal wiki to store non-PHI data like staff contact information, educational resources, links to essential references, key business contacts, internal calendars, or overviews of administration systems. 

When a staff member has a question, they can quickly search the company wiki to find an answer. If the answer is missing, they can update the wiki for future users.

Internal wikis are open-access, meaning anyone on your team can edit the wiki and add information. This collaborative approach empowers the team while increasing access to crucial internal knowledge. Ultimately, it helps your medical office operate smoothly so that you can focus on patient care. 

How to create an internal wiki

Creating an internal wiki can be straightforward if you follow these steps. 

  1. Pick a software or platform to host your wiki (see below). 
  2. Organize your information architecture by defining your wiki’s high-level categories or sections. 
  3. Add information by importing it from other sources or assigning team members to fill in essential areas. 
  4. Configure access so the right people can view and edit the groups of pages or documents.
  5. Launch your wiki by introducing it to the entire team.

Software and best practices

There are lots of knowledge management software solutions like Guru, Document360, and Confluence. While these are great options for large institutions, small medical practices could create an internal wiki in Google Drive or a similar platform they already use. 

Any software that allows collaborative real-time editing, customized sharing permissions, and easy linking between pages or documents will work. 

Here are a few tips to keep in mind so you create an internal wiki that works for your medical practice. 

Create a structure

Organize the sections of your internal wiki early on so users add information in the right places. Use a clear hierarchy of categories, pages, and sub-pages corresponding to the practice’s needs. 

Keep it up to date

Your internal wiki is only helpful if it contains accurate and up-to-date information. Assign a specific person to maintain the wiki, and have that person encourage team members to keep it current. 

Keep it simple

Use plain, concise language whenever possible. Remember that less is more and that the goal of your wiki is to contain all critical information and nothing extra. 

Encourage collaboration

Provide guidelines and encouragement to empower all team members to edit and add to the wiki. Internal wikis may be new to most of your staff, so provide training and support when required. 

Benefits of internal wikis for medical practices

There’s little research about internal wikis in small medical practices, but there is evidence they can add value in this context. An internal wiki can facilitate the following:

  • Faster employee onboarding
  • A more productive team
  • Retaining practice knowledge and improving institutional memory
  • Better collaboration
  • Empowered employees

One three-year study of an internal medicine residency program that adopted a wiki found it was widely used and popular. All house staff felt the wiki improved their ability to complete tasks, and about 90% said it improved their experience and efficiency.

When well-implement, an internal wiki is a vital tool for keeping your medical practice running smoothly.

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