FOAMed is Free Open Access Medical education. Medical teaching has been around since Thgg showed Gthh how to treat an infected sabre tooth cat wound, back in the Stone Age. However, Mrrr wasn’t around as he was away hunting and so he never learned. Mrrr died a few weeks later of an infected sabre tooth cat wound. Teaching cannot always take place at appointed times and that affects patient care. Ask Mrr.
The essential knowledge in paediatric surgery should not be locked in a facility or charged for but should be globally accessible, crowd-sourced, an educational adjunct providing inline (contextual) and offline (asynchronous) content to augment traditional educational principles. This is the concept of FOAM. This is the stimulus to develop this resource and share links and input from around the world.
FOAMed initially started in Emergency Medicine and Intensive Care in 2012. Around the world a community of like-minded groups were created, each constantly evolving, working collaboratively and interacting such that education resources in Melbourne might be used in Manchester, shared in New York, refined in Cape Town and finally distributed on the web to make the world a better place and improve the care of our patients, everywhere. FOAM is independent of platform or media — it includes blogs, podcasts, tweets, online videos, text documents, photographs, Facebook groups, and according to the scientific literature, a whole lot more. This is FOAM and these are some of our friends.
St Emlyn’s is an Emergency Medicine site. We share the same virtual campus with them at Virchester. One of our staff is also on faculty there. St Emlyn’s produce internationally acclaimed content regarding all aspects of Emergency Medicine but also has a strong suit in the concepts of education and learning theory. They recognise clinicians are not machines and so have multiple resources crafted to support us in our psychological and physical welfare.
In the paediatric sphere Don’t Forget the Bubblesis an essential site and we have worked with them giving presentations at their amazing conferences. They are internationally renowned for developing knowledge related to emergency and general paediatric care and even for some of their “research.”
One of the principles of FOAM is the generation of evidence, rather than eminence-based medicine. The idea scientific literature should guide care more than old professors shouting loudly. The SGEM is a leader in this, continually striving to shorten the knowledge gap of new practice evolving through research and then become part of established practice. Visit this site and start to understand the true implications of the literature we read.
If you start searching you will find the volume and availability of education available are truly overwhelming. Over at RebelEM our friend Salim Rezaie explains how we might consider using this amazing and initially overwhelming resource.
Lastly, the field of pediatric surgery (and pediatric surgery too) is pretty barren when it comes to FOAMed. It is interesting to consider why this might be but the leader currently in our field is our friend and colleague Todd Ponsky. His global cast podcasts can even be accessed through their own app “Stay Current,” available wherever you get your apps.
There is so much opportunity and so much information available in FOAMed, none of us can know it all. It is said that in the past we used to expect clinicians to carry all the knowledge with them as a library. To be honest that never worked. What we can do now is to be the librarian and know where to find that information. If you have thoughts or links that you use, please let us know in the comments section and we can spread the FOAMed further.