By Jeremy Webb MD
In the last several years, there has been a big push to deliver easily accessible, clinically pertinent information to interns, residents, and graduates of Emergency Medicine (EM) programs around the world.
It is not unique to EM.
After spending the last 3 years of my residency scouring the net for supplemental educational resources, I’ve learned our specialty takes top prize when it comes to both the quality and sheer quantity of social media and web-based learning sites. We live in amazing times.
In a recent Wired.com article about information sharing among medical professionals, Eric Topol was quoted as saying, “We just have to take the walls down and we haven’t even started to do that yet.”. I disagree. This new push for free, open-access collaboration and education (FOAM) is already underway and gaining fierce momentum. The idea, coined ‘FOAM’ (free open access meducation), has garnered much attention and many followers in the last year among the online EM community.
Having immersed myself in this community, I can say without hesitation that the evolution of medical training and asynchronous education is happening online now — the walls have already been broken down, you just have to know where to look.
Below are a few of my favorite resources, but I assure you this is not an exhaustive list.
I promise, you will read something today that may save a life tomorrow.
Description: Scott Weingart is a critical care fellowship trained EM doc who specializes in bringing “upstairs care (ICU) downstairs” to the ED. If it involves critically ill patients, you’ll find it discussed here.
Description: Cliff Reid is a prehospital physician with expertise in resuscitation. His site seeks to provide up-to-date information and cutting edge techniques in the field of resus.
Description: Michael McGonigal MD is the Director of Trauma Services for Regions Hospital in St. Paul, MN. If you’re interested in the who, whys, and whats of trauma care, he’s your man.
Description: Dr. Stephen W. Smith is a faculty physician at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis, MN. He is known for his mastery of ECGs and his posts literally walk you through an ECG of an emergency department patient from start to finish.
Description: Mike Winters (U of Md), Peter DeBlieux (LSU), and Rob Rodriguez (UCSF). The website is a $60 investment in audio commentary by critical care experts, but the Twitter account is useful in providing and linking to critical care pearls around the net.
Description: The master of EM cardiology in the digital flesh. His tumblr site is awesome and he provoides weekly 15 min case presentations surrounding ECGs.
Description: Clay Smith is a clinical monster who completed IM-Peds as well as EM residencies and is now professor of all these disciplines at Vanderbilt in TN. His main push is evidence based medicine and you’ll enjoy the discussion of recent articles of interest.
Description: Matt Dawson and Mike Mallin, both ultrasound directors at University of KY and University of UT respectively. Great podcast that any one from interns to attendings can listen to in order to up their game.
Description: Want to know the hot articles that everyone in EM is reading? Look no further than Ryan Radecki’s site. You’ll find critical appraisals of current literature that typically start a discussion among other EM bloggers.
Life in the Fastlane
Description: Authors at Life in the Fast Lane (Mike Cadogan, Kane Guthrie, Chris Nickson, and Michelle Johnston), one of the pre-eminent blogs on everything emergency medicine and some of the biggest proponents of FOAM (free open access medical education).
Academic Life in EM
Description: Michelle Lin leads a team of Physician writers in providing tips for EM. She is legendary for her Paucis Verbis cards — great quick reference cards that you can link to your dropbox and evernote account for free. Her blog is great for in depth lit reviews as well.
In addition to the twitter handles, podcasts, and blogs of these social media patrons, you can also find feeds by eminent journals and emergency medicine colleges as well (i.e. @JAMA_current, @NEJM, @AnnalsofEM, @EmergencyDocs (ACEP)). You may also want to visit http://www.foamem.com/ which is an RSS feed that collates many of these resources together.
Other free resources for medical education: iMedicalApps top 10 free iPad medical Apps list . The following is a link to all the Emergency Medicine specific medial apps reviewed on iMedicalApps: iMA EM apps
Jeremy Webb, MD is a PGYIII Emergency Medicine resident at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Check out his blog — emerjencywebb.wordpress.com — and follow him on twitter @emerJencyWebb. Iltifat Husain MD (editor-in-chief of iMedicalApps) contributed to this piece — he can be followed at @iltifatMD.