A Brief Note on FOAMed

This blog is called Prehospital FOAM, which sounds like something in which one would bathe.  It’s not.  FOAM(ed) is a new and wonderful movement that is taking the medical community by storm.  Basically, a couple years ago, several ER docs were having a drink after a conference and decided that there was no reason that the internet and social media couldn’t be better utilized to share educational resources and experiences that have been heretofore inaccessible to a large portion of the medical community.  And if our shared endeavor is better care of our patients, hiding away useful knowledge and information seems…stupid.

So now we have FOAMed–a medical “education” (let’s be careful about that, though) for “anyone, anywhere, anytime.”  LifeintheFastLane.com, the real hub and home of FOAMed, defines FOAM as such:

FOAM is the movement that has spontaneously emerged from the exploding collection of constantly evolving, collaborative and interactive open access medical education resources being distributed on the web with one objective — to make the world a better place. FOAM is independent of platform or media — it includes blogs, podcasts, tweets, Google hangouts, online videos, text documents, photographs, facebook groups, and a whole lot more.

This sounds great, and it is, but what we still need to be reasonable here.  This morning, for example, I listened to a podcast from PHARM (see FOAM Sites in the menu) about prehospital intubation in the presence of TBI.  A lot of evidence says that it’s not such a great idea.  But listening to one podcast–even if it is very well done and comprehensive–does not make me an expert, nor does it give me the skills and knowledge base to change my practice.  Not yet.  I still need to read the research for myself, read the textbooks, know the physiology, and THEN (and only then) can I reassess my practice under my protocols.  As Dr. Weingart has said talking about FOAMed, it is not gospel.  It is not knowledge, but tacit experience.  What we need to do is read the literature for ourselves and come to our own informed decisions.  Basically, FOAMed can jump start you in a direction toward better understanding, but it is close to meaningless without the legwork to create a foundation for yourself.

With that said, I hope this site can do a couple of things for prehospital providers: first, I hope to show you some of resources that are readily available and of high-quality to supplement your current education.  Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, I hope to make some of the literature–evidence based medicine that is necessary for real comprehension and knowledge–more accessible for EMS providers who may have never seen a randomized controlled trial before.  Because that is the kind of base knowledge we need for EMS to be respected as a profession.

Please stay tuned and check out some of the sites that are linked already on the page.  The larger community of EMS professionals (I’ll use that word) have every right to be involved in the FOAMed conversation, and I think it’s about time we started weighing in.

**UPDATE–found this video on DEMTed.com, which summarizes some nice points about FOAM**

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