For those like me, that have seen FOAMed recently on social media, but  like me were afraid to ask what it means (Free Open Access Meducation)

There really is nothing new.

Like Evidence Based Medicine. We used to call this The Scientific Method. We postulated a hypothesis, wrote a study, executed data collection, and reported the results. Changed clinical practice based on the results. Evidence Based.

There is only new names for what we already knew about for years.

Example;  once years ago a Medic told me about his PEA case. I had no idea what he was talking about. He asked my to pull out my ACLS to check the expiration. Turned out he was talking about EMD, which meant I needed a new ACLS Class.

Please folks, don’t be too distracted by new acronyms. If Tom Bouthillet says it’s a topic worth following and being open-minded about , then I will. But I’m pretty sure FOAMed is just a Twitter hashtag for talking about medical education.

I am unconvinced this is a movement or religion despite the fact that so many either describe themselves as a FOAMed “devotee” or “avid supporter”.

About Dan White

I'm a retired Paramedic and EMS Instructor with 35 years EMS and emergency medical product experience. I love canoes, cars and EMS. I have written a lot about EMS Technology on the Paramedic Blog, the Insights on Innovation column for, on and I can be reached directly at 573-240-0002.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to FOAMed

  1. I beg to differ. FOAM is new and FOAM is different. Just as EBM was new and different even though the scientific method predated it. That’s still a far more interesting comparison, however, than EMD versus PEA which truly is just a new name for what is essentially the same thing (except that PEA acknowledges that EMD is not necessarily present). Don’t be so quick to judge, my friend. The #FOAMed community on Twitter is awesome clearing house for cutting edge medicine. What is new and different is that social media allows people who would have ordinarily never met to have meaningful exchanges of ideas in real time. You might as well say the internet isn’t new, or the world wide web isn’t new. True, but #FOAMed takes advantages of the capability of Web 2.0 in a powerful way that gives a certain type of innovative and enthusiastic health care professional a connectedness to other like-minded souls and best practices. That’s really helpful when you’re trying to bring a new and fresh approach to your own little corner of the world that is otherwise controlled by a privileged oligarchy that no longer holds itself up to critical analysis. It may not be the Arab Spring but keep in mind that was also helped along by social media. The House of Medicine tends to be exclusive. #FOAMed is participatory. I recommend watching it for a while longer before labeling it a mere distraction or acronym.

  2. says:

    Agree. Think of it this way – we all have interesting clinical images or presentations on our laptops – or ideas, pet concepts, best way of doing things. Experience.

    #FOAMed allows us to share this stuff – not just with a group of colleagues at a workshop or conference presentation – but with the whole freakin’ worldwide medical community. That is powerful.

    My case? Rural and remote doctor in Australia. FOAMed allows me to discuss concepts with experts – from Australia, from overseas – who’s expertise may be in same field 9rural doctor) or overlap (EM/retrieval/anaes) with mine. Result? I am exchanging ideas with people I would never do normally.

    And when I go along to annual upskilling or conferences ‘designed for rural doctors’, the content is way behind the stuff we are talking about – and frankly often embarrassing.

    The DANGER of FOAMEd is that it risks a cult of personality of self-worship. Thankfully those who seem to embrace it are mostly humble clinicians, keen to exchange ideas – for free, not profit or self-promotion.

    It is different, and it can be powerful. Suck it and see. You are welcome to join in

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s