The Social Media Index (SM-i) started with a pilot on BoringEM. The rationale for the experiment was that the health care professionals creating Free Open-Access Medical Education (FOAM) resources had no way to measure their impact in the way that scholars (h-index) and journals (Impact Factor) do. This made it difficult for them to quantify the impact of their work and for the consumers of FOAM to distinguish between reputable and unproven websites. While I am aware of the many imperfections of the index as it now stands, I believe the pilot demonstrated that there is enough value in the concept to justify further exploration.
I was delighted to see the News and Perspectives piece in this month’s Annals of Emergency Medicine about “Social Media and Physician Learning” (free PDF). I had totally forgotten that Jan Greene, the author, had called to talk with me several months ago. In the piece, she discusses many of the issues with which I struggle:
- Is peer review good or bad?
- What is the role of blog and podcast sites in the future of medical education?
- With the ease of how anyone can be “published” on blogs, how can one decide on the trustworthiness of open educational resources such as FOAM?
- Can or should social media education practices be held up to the rigorous scientific standards of original research?
Here are some noteworthy quotes:
I understand how tough it can be to come up with quality resident education to fulfill educational requirements on a weekly basis all year around. For most programs that is approximately 5 hours of conference material, once a week, pretty much every week of the year. That equals 260 hours of educational material that needs to be high yield, engaging, and entertaining enough to hold the attention of the millennial generation. This is an especially daunting task if tackled alone. So don’t do this alone! Start a program-wide Twitter account!
At the 2013 International EM Teaching Course yesterday, Dr. Stacey Poznanski and I gave a workshop on “Powerpoint Resuscitation” to address all the widespread pitfalls which cause “death by powerpoint”. Here are the winners from the workshop competition, illustrating great examples of the coherence, redundancy, and multimedia principles that we reviewed. The slide examples are in pairs in a before-workshop and after-workshop format. Amazing what star educators can get done in a 60 minute workshop!
Over the past 4+ years, ALiEM has grown to be an exciting educational blog which focuses on the clinical, educational, and academic aspects of emergency medicine. It has far exceeded any of my expectations and has been an incredibly valuable and rewarding experience for me personally. Since its inception, the site has transitioned from a single-author site to a site with a superstar team of authors who cover a diverse range of clinical (e.g. cardiovascular, critical care, geriatric EM, pharmacology) and educational (book club, MEdiC series, educational pedagogies) content as well as an expert peer-review system. As now the blog’s Editor in Chief, I am constantly amazed that we have been successful on pretty much a small, self-funded budget. Going forward, I now realize that the blog’s continued growth and creative strategies are rate-limited by funding.
Blogs, podcasts, and other social media platforms in medical education, known collectively as Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM), are becoming increasingly popular and integrated into daily learning habits. Through various push technologies, these resources come to you in the form of RSS feeds, podcast tools, and other apps. Do you have a mental checklist to help you determine whether the content is trustworthy and accurate? How do you process the information from FOAM sites?
What if a resident-physician attempted a technique she read on a blog or listened to on a podcast, but the procedure didn’t go as planned and the patient was harmed? Is Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) to blame for medical errors? What about the blog site? If the site has a disclaimer (like most medical databases), is it enough to limit liability?
These are challenging questions, but ones that deserve discussion, especially in light of the recent post on St. Emlyn’s blog about a theoretical scenario just like this.