Recognizing the increasing potential for unconventional ways to perform medical education, Mike Cadogan, first coined the term “free open access meducation” (#FOAM; #FOAMed) in June 2012. By using unconventional education resources, such as blogs, Twitter, online resources, Google Drive, Facebook etc, medical students can get information anywhere, anytime.

In the past we’ve written about 11 free #FOAM resources for health providers.


To mark the progress of #FOAM in the field of emergency medicine and critical care (EMCC), Mike’s group conducted a short descriptive study on EMCC blogs and podcasts from 2002 to 2013. Websites were identified from personal communications, a self-report form on Life in the Fast Lane (Mike’s own EMCC blog created in 2007), snowballing using blogrolls and Alexa reports (which identifies all linked websites), and a retrospective Google search using the search terms (“emergency medicine” OR “critical care” OR “intensive care”) AND (podcast OR blog).

Only active and open-access English websites on EMCC were included in the count. Websites that included text were considered blogs, and websites that had audio/video were podcasts. In November 2013, 141 blogs and 42 podcasts were identified. This was a huge increase compared to 2002 when close to no EMCC-related blogs or podcasts existed.

foam movement

Although this report does not highlight specific blogs or podcasts, we’ve written on the rise of #FOAM before, listing some of these websites with a short description for your reference.

As with all online content, one of the biggest challenges is to sort and identify useful and reliable sources. Appropriate metrics should be developed and standardized to help users decide what is appropriate for their needs.