The Rise of FOAM in Emergency Medicine and Critical Care From ECGMedicalTraining.com

foam simulation

As access to online tools continue to expand around the world, the tenants of open, free and widespread communication continues to evolve healthcare and education. FOAM, or Free and Open Access Medical Education, is a prominent hashtag #FOAMED on twitter, that is supported by blogs like ECGMedicalTraining.com. Recently they covered the topic of online peer review systems vs. traditional peer review journals. An interesting conversation which is also affecting healthcare simulation (see recent articles “Helpful Thoughts on In Situ Simulation” and “EMSIMCases Website Provides Free Emergency Medicine Simulation Scenarios, Templates and More!

Article Excerpts:

Over the past 20 years the internet has spawned a huge number of blogs, podcasts, videos and wikis on a countless number of topics and emergency medicine has been no exception.1 At the intersection of social media and critical care the astoundingly popular Free Open-Access Medical Education (FOAM) or #FOAMed movement has emerged as a force to be reckoned with.2 According to Symplur which tracks health care related hashtags there were almost 900 million Twitter impressions containing the #FOAMed hashtag in calendar year 2014.

Around the world, attending physicians have complained that their residents are questioning authority. They complain that FOAM is not peer reviewed3 and can even be dangerous.4 Ironically this is a topic that is discussed frequently amongst those who participate in FOAM. Some counter that peer review is highly political, susceptible to appeals to authority, and that guideline-writing panels can be “stacked” with physicians of a particular viewpoint or industry funding.


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Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman explains why the real action is happening in the blogosphere and not in peer reviewed journals because “events are moving fast, and the long lead times of conventional publication essentially guarantee that it will be irrelevant to current policy issues.”

Others are hopeful that FOAM will emerge as the ultimate peer review because the online dialog is robust, timely, multi-national, transparent, and largely apolitical. There’s no doubt that FOAM is disruptive to the status quo. On the other hand, in the absence of traditional peer review, it’s fair and appropriate to ask how one might assess the quality of a medical blog or podcast.

About ECGMedicalTraining.com

In order to elevate the level of ECG training across disciplines, you need to take a multidisciplinary approach. That is why Tom and Tim (both experts in their respective fields) joined forces to create ECG Medical Training. It does not matter whether you are a physician or a physician assistant, a nurse or a paramedic, every medical professional needs a solid foundation in ECG interpretation. Dr. Henry and Mr. Bouthillet started ECG Medical Training to be the definitive, comprehensive source for ECG interpretation for every discipline.

Read the complete FOAMed article on ECG Medical Training’s Website!


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