WikiMSK:Website Brief

From WikiMSK


  • WikiMSK ( was founded in June 2020 by myself, Jeremy Steinberg, leveraging on the knowledge gained over the years in software development and systems administration.
  • The aim of this wiki is to produce an accurate, readable, reliable, accessible, and up-to-date repository of knowledge for the practice of Musculoskeletal Medicine in New Zealand.
  • Rather than a dropbox style "document dump," (although it can be used that way) the aim is to have individually written articles that discuss key MSK topics (with references), a la the white papers but for the modern era.
  • Most content is planned to be open access, except for the training portal (read below).
  • Content will be based off Musculoskeletal Medicine textbooks, articles, regional pathways, other online resources, and exemplary NZAMM member presentations (with permission when required if not paraphrasing).
  • Only NZAMM members are eligible for accounts, and account creation is managed by the administrator.
  • Most trainees have accounts at the time of writing.
  • I am happy to give personal tutorials on how to use the wiki, or love demonstrations. There is also a full user guide.
  • I recognise that this is an ambitious project but in a couple of years I predict that it will be something that the association will be proud of.


  • The wiki is free. It runs on secure opensource software on a local Auckland secure server.
  • Backups are done automatically every day for free, and offsite copies are held.
  • There is no added cost for each additional user.
  • If the website became too large then a server upgrade may be required, this would be at a cost of around $30 a month. The current server storage capacity is ~15GB
  • The software is MediaWiki, and has been customised to suit the purposes of NZAMM members. MediaWiki is the software used by Wikipedia.


  • I have done several hours of research on website hierarchy, drawing from many medical and non-medical wikis that I thought were exemplary, as well as drawing from the literature on wiki construction and maintenance in medical education.
  • Articles may be on any Musculoskeletal Medicine topic. I will use Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy as an example. But they can also be on procedures, examination, concepts, specific papers, or anything.
  • Articles are placed into one or more Categories to allow ease of browsing and search. Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy is is the Elbow & Forearm Category, as well as the Tendinopathies Category.
  • Categories are placed into Portals. The Elbow & Forearm Category is placed into the Topics by region portal, The Tendinopathies Category is placed into the Topics by concept portal
  • A dropbox or onenote type product only allows you to place a particular file in one particular folder. A wiki allows the file to be in as many areas as you want. This makes searching for content much easier.

Website Structure.PNG

  • The software works as "write it once," using something called templates. The example article takes information from a template that has the differential diagnosis of ankle pain. In this way multiple articles can integrate this information and you only have to write it once.


The full list of portals are below:


Regions · Concepts · Procedures · DDX · Cases · EBQs · Links · Training

Note:login required first for training portal

Most portals are fairly self-explanatory. DDX means differential diagnosis, an area for differential diagnosis checklists. EBQ means evidence based questions. This is an area for the systematic analysis of key MSK papers.

Access Control

  • Any article can be made private. It can be locked to one users, or a group of users.
  • The Training Portal has many helpful articles and links but access is only allowed for NZAMM members. This section can be used for many purposes. For example storing links to recorded zoom lectures, or uploading material where permission has only been granted for NZAMM members to access.
  • The table below outlines the privileges of each user type

User types.png

Quality Control

Articles go through quality improvement stages:

  1. Stub: basically a dump of information or limited information. Indicated by a quarter circle at the top right of the article
  2. Partial. Most of the structure and content is present. Indicated by a half circle
  3. Complete. Thought to be complete by the non-fellow author but not signed off. Indicated by a three quarter circle
  4. Certified. Indicates that the article has been signed off by a fellow or other relevant expert. Indicated by a full green circle, and says the reviewer and date of review if you hover over the icon

Disclaimers are customisable. For nonmainstream topics a warning can be placed at the top of an article.

Again, everything is customisable. For example, if people wanted the certifier to be shown prominently within the article itself that can be done very easily.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Rasmusen summarised the potential benefits and drawbacks to the use of a wiki in medical education, and is summarised below.[1] There are many examples of the successful use of wikis in undergraduate and postgraduate medical education.

Advantages Disadvantages
Knowledge Construction Setup and Preparation
Collaborative Learning Acceptability and Engagement
Social Learning Challenges to Collaboration
Engagement and Ownership Need for Oversight
Peer Feedback Issues relating to Hierarchy
Administrative Benefits -

There are many other advantages to a wiki. Some of them:

  • Free open access (except for training portal), helping other professionals in particular GPs
  • Integration of multimedia tools like the Quiz software, videos, and more.
  • Infinitely customisable, especially as I am systems administrator, software developer, editor, and writer.
  • Designed to be quick to access information when required at work.
  • The software has been around since 2002. It is very robust and very easy to find out how to do basically anything you want.
  • It is basically impossible to break anything. Changes can be easily reverted.
  • Powerful search. For example it searches within articles.
  • Designed to be printable, either to paper or to PDF.

There are already wikis for Physiotherapy, Orthopaedic Surgery, Radiology, and Emergency Medicine, but none for Musculoskeletal Medicine. There are also HealthPathways but there are only a limited number of Musculoskeletal Medicine articles, and they are written for primary rather than secondary care.

Future Directions

  • Optional core module for training? (Can track user involvement via a scoring system The WikEM emergency medicine wiki provides up to 20 hours of credit for involvement in their wiki as an EM trainee. They count 0.5 points as equivalent to one hour.
  • Develop a structure for adding case histories. Case histories are an invaluable way of learning medicine (see literature on this topic by Dr Daliwal).
  • Development of an Android and iOS mobile app when there are several hundred articles (may require outsourcing)
  • Migration to a dedicated server or custom managed container image which would allow the installation of more features such as a visual editor and other tools. The cost of this is $30 a month.
  • For any tricky development requirements contract an experienced mediawiki developer.



  1. Rasmussen A, Lewis M, White J. The application of wiki technology in medical education.Med Teach. 2013;35(2):109-114. doi:10.3109/0142159X.2012.733838.