An article discussing the pros and cons of Free, Open Access Medical education (FOAMed) and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on education.
There has been a considerable growth in recent years in openly accessible and crowd-sourced materials that can be used to supplement and enhance traditional educational methods.
Dr David Denman, writing on Life in the Fast Lane1, believes that although clinical research forms the backbone of medical practice, ‘there is an increasing feeling that our systems of research have not been serving us as well as we think’. Limitations and conflicts of interest are recognized to be a widespread problem in the publication of clinical trial results. “One of the potential solutions,” he said, “is open access publication.” FOAMed could offer a way to fill a gap in ongoing professional development for physicians.
Changing standard operating procedures due to online recommendations
For many air medical and SAR operators, when seeking to change or review practices and standard operating procedures, there are a number of resources that can be utilized while researching best practices among colleagues and peers. Published, peer-reviewed articles used to be the only means of exchanging information. Valuable, for sure, but in many ways, limited.
For Stuart Cox, Specialist Practitioner Critical Care with the UK’s Dorset & Somerset Air Ambulance (DSAA), social media and the advent of FOAMed has changed the game for emergency clinicians seeking input from fellow medical professionals. “The so-called ‘grey’ resources,” he told AirMed&Rescue, “while unpublished in a technical sense, can be just as useful as evidence-based research and product literature. You just have to evaluate all the information you are being offered from different sources.”