In early June of this year I caught up with Dr. Rob Rogers of iTeach EM and The Teaching Course, Dr. Ken Milne of The Skeptics Guide to EM and Dr. Brent Thoma of Academic Life in EM and Boring EM at the Canadian Association of Emergency Medicine Conference in Ottawa to chat about the evolution of Social Media & Emergency Medicine Learning. In this podcast, we discuss how Social Media can enhance your career, tips on how to get the most out of FOAMed without getting overwhelmed by the volume of material, swarm-based medicine, tacit knowledge sharing, the flipped classroom, the use of FOAMed in emergency medicine training curricula, how Twitter, Google+, Google Hangout and Google Glass have changed the face of medical education, and much more.

Blog Post and Written Summary Prepared by Claire Heslop and Anton Helman, June 2014

The use of Social media tools, including podcasts and blogs, Twitter and Google+, has exploded in the medical community over the past 5 years, and is viewed as valuable by Emergency Medicine trainees. In a survey conducted by Mike Mallin of the Ultrasound Podcast medical residents endorsed podcasts as the most beneficial (endorsed by 70.3%) compared with textbooks (endorsed by 54.3%), and journals (36.5%). Learning how to best navigate and use these tools is key to staying current in EM medical education and practice.

Mallin, M et al. A survey of the current utilization of asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the United States. Acad Med. 2014 Apr;89(4):598-601. Abstract

Social Media & Emergency Medicine Learning Definitions

Social Media: Social media (SoMe) is the interactions among people virtually connected who are creating, sharing and exchanging information and ideas in virtual communities and networks. The seven building blocks of SoMe are: identity, conversations, sharing, presence, relationships, reputation and groups.

Kietzmann, J et al. Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons. Volume 54, Isuue 3, May-June 2011, 241-251. Free Article

What is FOAM and #FOAMed? Mike Cadogan & Chris Nickson of Life in the Fast Lane (LiTFL) blog define FOAM: “FOAM(ed) is ‘free open-access med(ical ed)ucation’. As such, FOAM is a dynamic collection of resources and tools for lifelong learning in medicine, as well as community and an ethos.” The learning is asynchronous, and freely accessible across all resource settings.  This levels the ‘playing field’ and allows interactions between users at different skill levels. #FOAMed is the hashtag used on Twitter to share FOAM ideas and resources.

Go here for EM Cases’ detailed description of FOAMed.

Nickson, C and Cadogan, M. Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emergency Medicine Australasia. 2014 26, 76-83. Free PDF

Swarm Based Medicine:  Involves crowd sourcing important medical questions through social media networks and venues which helps facilitate the generation and distribution of knowledge. An innovation or change in practice is communicated from members of the swarm.

Putora, P and Oldenburg, J. Swarm-based medicine. J Med Internet Res. Sep 2013;15(9):e207 Free Full Article

FOAM and SoMe/Swarm based medicine makes the learning an active, open-sourced process. There is more rapid integration and propagation across social media networks to users, and from users back to the source and to each other.

Tacit Knowledge Sharing:  Social Media platforms allow sharing experiential knowledge among experts who have clinical experience, and have pearls and pitfalls they want to share, with the SoMe community.  The information is shared more directly, more personally and alongside first hand case experience. It also provides a venue for discussion of this experiential knowledge as it develops from anecdote to evidence, among the users of that knowledge at the point-of-care setting.

Scott Weingart’s podcast on Tacit Knowledge and Medical Podcasting on EMCrit

Panahi, S. et al. Potentials of Social Media for Tacit Knowledge Sharing Amongst Physicians: Preliminary Findings. 23rd Australasian Conference on Information Systems. 2012, Dec 3-5, Greelong. Free PDF

Knowledge Translation: Knowledge translation is transfer of evidence from the literature to practice. Social media and FOAM can accelerate knowledge translation by disseminating perspectives, sparking discussions, and driving rapid practice change intelligently within the culture of medicine.

The Flipped Classroom: The flipped classroom turns didactic teaching inside out; learners review the lecture content independently via videos, podcasts or written material and then meet in the classroom to problem solve, dissect and discuss the material actively, in an engaging format, rather than passively.

Salman Khan’s TED talk on the flipped classroom

Khan Academy website and The One World Schoolhouse – Education Reimagined book

Quality Assurance & Peer Review in Social Media and Emergency Medicine Learning

The traditional peer review process (pre-publication) of literature happens slowly, offline, and is limited to the quality of the reviews and the timeliness of publication. In contrast, once material is posted to SoMe, the post-publication peer review process occurs instantly. Comments, feedback, and criticism provide real time user feedback, and dialogue often helps to clarify controversies and important subtleties about the information presented. In addition, some SoMe platforms such as the Academic Life in Emergency Medicine blog have incorporated expert peer reviewers for some of their blog posts.

Thoma B et al. Implementing peer review at an emergency medicine blog: bridging the gap between educators and clinical experts. CJEM. 2014 Apr 1;16(0):1-4. Abstract

Quality FOAM sources identify who they are, provide references for their claims and suggest how to incorporate the information presented into practice.  Just like journals, each FOAMed source has accountability and its authors strive to be accurate and accountable.  Trustworthiness for blogs, podcasts and SoMe sources can also be measured by the quality of the users who ‘follow’ emergency management of pediatric seizuresthat person, as this is a surrogate for endorsement. Research is ongoing to assess quality indicators for blogs and podcasts as well as impact factors.

The Social Media Tools in Emergency Medicine Learning

How should we be using Twitter?

The short length of Twitter (140 characters) does limit the meaningfulness, depth of discussion, and richness of dialogue. However, it is quite easy to use, it is conducive with the short-attention span emergency medicine user, is provides quick links to key articles and FOAM sources from trusted followers, it forces users to focus and edit themselves succinctly, provides for real time interaction between speakers and audience with the rest of the medical community during conferences, and can be used to crowd source questions that practitioners might have about particular cases or controversies. Dr. Rogers gives examples in the podcast of how people he has met on Twitter have led to invites to speak at international conferences, and Dr. Thoma gives examples of how people he has met on Twitter helped him publish articles. Some Emergency Medicine educators recommend Google+ as a more robust platform compared to Twitter for in-depth discussions.

What about Google Hangout?

A Google Hangout is a video-conferencing tool that can also permit live video conference sharing.  This allows the users to watch teaching, lectures, or interviews from those SoMe users who are making waves in Emergency Medicine.  Google Hangout users can interact with the educators or interviewees, and it promotes global collaborations.

For excellent examples of the use of Google Hangout see ALiEM-Annals Global EM Journal Club where lead authors of landmark EM articles are interviewed, incorporating the natural strengths of social media blogs (global real-time discussion with learners, practitioners, experts, and published authors) with journals (expertise in critical appraisal).

How can Google Glass fit into Medical Education?  Our experts suggest that it is not yet clear yet what role this wearable technology will play in medical education and training.  Because a portion of the eye wear broadcasts, it may become an interactive distance learning and recording tool once its current use limitations are overcome.

10 Tips for FOAM Beginners

From iTeach EM blog (modified by Chris Nickson)

1)     Be a Tweeter

2)     Register as a FOAM user

3)     Be identifiable (not anonymous)

4)     Be professional

5)     Be active (in discussions and criticism)

6)     Be generous with sharing and engage generously with others

7)     The more you put in, the more you get out

8)     Use key well-endorsed resources to get started

9)     Filter your sources to manage “information overload”

10)  Be fun and keep it real!

The most important aspect to getting the most out of Social Media and FOAM is to start actively engaging and contributing because this will make it more rewarding and interesting.

Social Media & Career Development

Can SoMe effect your career development?  Social media can powerfully enhance one’s research impact and academic career development by enhancing your reach, building your audience, and developing your voice. Dr. Rogers and Dr. Thoma give some personal examples on the podcast of how Social Media has enhanced their careers.

For Michelle Lin’s talk at The Social Media Summit in Toronto, 2014 visit iTeachEM blog post on How Health Professions Eductors Should Use Social Media

Dr. Helman, Dr. Milne, Dr. Rogers and Dr. Thoma have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Kietzmann, J et al. Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media. Business Horizons. Volume 54, Isuue 3, May-June 2011, 241-251. Free Full Article

Mallin, M et al. A survey of the current utilization of asynchronous education among emergency medicine residents in the United States. Acad Med. 2014 Apr;89(4):598-601. Abstract

Nickson, C and Cadogan, M. Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) for the emergency physician. Emergency Medicine Australasia. 2014 26, 76-83. Free PDF

Radecki, R et al. Global Emergency Medicine Journal Club: Socail Media Responses to the November 2013 Annals of Emergency Medicine Journal Club. Ann Emerg Med. 2014;63:490-494. Free PDF

Thoma B et al. Implementing peer review at an emergency medicine blog: bridging the gap between educators and clinical experts. CJEM. 2014 Apr 1;16(0):1-4. Abstract

Bik, H and Goldsten, M. An Introduction to Social Media for scientists. PLOS Biology.2013;11, 4, 1-8. Free PDF

Panahi, S. et al. Potentials of Social Media for Tacit Knowledge Sharing Amongst Physicians: Preliminary Findings. 23rd Australasian Conference on Information Systems. 2012, Dec 3-5, Greelong. Free PDF

Putora, P and Oldenburg, J. Swarm-based medicine. J Med Internet Res. Sep 2013;15(9):e207 Free Full Article

Pourmand, A et al. Asynchronous web-based learning, a practical method to enhance teaching in emergency medicine. Telemed J E Health. 2013 Mar;19(3):169-72. Abstract

Help Support EM Cases By Giving Us Your Valuable Feedback.

(it only takes 15 seconds)