FOAMems: A Growing Opportunity for EMS Education

EMS World (05/01/19) Dorsett, Maia; Braithwaite, Sabina; Wagner, Jason; et al.

Free open-access medical education (FOAMed) can augment the training of emergency medical services (EMS) practitioners, both as an educational resource and as a community of professionals desiring continuing medical education, according to a multi-institutional study by EMS researchers. A survey of EMS providers found that the use of online materials was common, yet respondents were seldom familiar with FOAMed concepts and community. Among EMS providers who were somewhat familiar with FOAMed, 36 percent considered blogs the most helpful source for asynchronous education, while 50 percent said that podcasts were. The researchers said FOAMed is especially useful for "just in time" education with respect to emerging topics. Its benefits include a transformation in practice and enabling informed incorporation of evidence into clinical care, by shortening the period between research and knowledge dissemination. The researchers also cited mounting evidence that suggests asynchronous education is preferable for adult learners and more effective. FOAMed can be embedded within developing models of continuing EMS education, for example via the "flipped classroom," in which FOAMed resources deliver background information before interactive class discussion or curated FOAMed resources for asynchronous education. The benefits of producing and sharing FOAMed content for educators include exchange of educational resources, faster and more effective dissemination of ideas and evidence-based protocol shifts, and recognition for social media-based studies.

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