Tweeting Locally, Reaching Globally

The necessity of providing emergency care is not restricted to the world’s wealthiest countries. The lucky few living in settings with access to 24/7 emergency care, staffed by physicians educated in rigorous, structured settings, benefit from the resources disproportionately available. These clinicians have the support of their hospital physician education programs, may be funded for access to costly Continuing Medical Education, and belong to professional societies that provide further educational content. These issues are further exacerbated when publishers like Elsevier draw revenues of £2.1 billion and aggressively defend their profits with copyright crackdown lawsuits – further stifling the dissemination of medical knowledge.

How can the developing world – arguably in even greater need of support – bootstrap itself up without these resources?

That answer may present itself in a movement over the last few years to generate free, openly-accessible content. Entitled FOAM – Free Open Access Meducation – “Medical education for anyone, anywhere, anytime”, this movement spans the clinical spectrum. Frequently published by internationally-renowned expert, subjects range from core emergency medicine to advanced critical care, with all manner of knowledge translation in between.

A sampling of highlights:

  • The WikEM, a growing resource of practical point-of-care clinical knowledge.
  • EMCrit, critical care content and podcasts “bringing upstairs care downstairs”.
  • The Poison Review, critical appraisals on medical toxicology.
  • Life In the Fast Lane, aggregated Emergency Medicine education, upside-down.

Even commercial sites, such as eMedicine have valuable core content available in many specialties. However, care must be taken to evaluate each article for sources of bias, considering the revenue they derive from pharmaceutical sponsorship.

Unfortunately, much of this content is English language-only; Google Translate and other similar technologies ameliorate this barrier, but it remains an imperfect solution. Regardless, physicians in developing nations have access to an ever-increasing wealth of of experts – with nothing more than an internet connection.

Discover more through the most active social media platform, Twitter, using the #FOAMed hashtag.

Ryan Radecki


Associate Social Media Editor EMJ


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