figure_xray_5391There is no shortage of free open access medical education (FOAM) resources available to the current emergency medicine (EM) learner. It seems that no matter what the concept, FOAM has it covered. And radiology is no different. However, with a specialty as vast as radiology, finding educational material pertinent to the emergency practitioner can be overwhelming. The 2016-2017 ALiEM Chief Resident (CRincubator) class also encountered this when attempting to create an organized FOAM radiology curriculum for EM residents. To tackle this challenge, the chief residents have brought together the best online resources to help EM practitioners gain expertise in the field of radiology.

A collective of over 180 chief residents from across North America were asked to share their favorite radiology sources. Additionally, the internet, literature searches and a review of radiology education pages from major academic institutions were used to gather resources. The compiled material was reviewed by CRincubator collaborators to determine the pros and cons of each resource, the material covered, and how the content may be used in an educational context. Listed below are the sources that best filled a particular niche in radiology education for the EM provider.

Online Text: Radiology Assistant

Editors in Chief: Robin Smithius, MD; Otto van Delden, MD

Radiology Assistant

Typical page from Radiology Assistant with outline, introduction, and annotated diagram


AboutEducational site of the Radiological Society of the Netherlands with dedicated sections for each subspecialty of radiology
  • Designed specifically to provide up-to-date radiological education for radiology residents and radiologists
  • Great diagrams on anatomy of injuries and definitions of injury type in simplified form
  • Comprehensive review by type of study and indications for study, which goes beyond learning about particular abnormal findings
  • May have to wade through radiology-specific discussion (e.g.such as how to protocol a study) to reach EM-salient content

Quick Reference: Radiopaedia

Founder/Editor in Chief: Frank Gaillard, MD


Sample article from Radiopaedia about Colles fracture 

AboutFree educational radiology reference resource with one of the web’s largest collections of radiology cases and reference articles
  • Large repository of images organized by articles and cases (articles in wiki-like form explaining concepts of radiographic findings)
  • Allows you to research a specific topic or search for thousands of images related to a specific finding or disease process
  • Most articles elaborate on differential, prognosis, and likely treatment plans
  • Associated Tumblr and Twitter accounts for interesting cases and radiographic signs
  • Minimal “clinical correlation” of imaging with management discussion beyond the immediate general disposition of the patient (e.g. operative management or outpatient)

Tutorials/Reference For Beginners: Introduction to Radiology (UVA Health)

Creators/Authors: University of Virginia Health

UVA Health

Splenic injury page from UVA Health’s Introduction to Radiology: Emergency Body CT tutorial


AboutAn online, interactive tutorial for introduction to radiology
  • Self-directed tutorials
  • Specific tutorials for trauma and emergencies
  • Expansive
  • Only tutorials — it does not provide further depth or reference material
  • Not searchable
  • Simple hypertext page layout

Smartphone App: Radiology 2.0 – One Night in the ED

Creator: Daniel Cornfeld, MD
Website versioniPhone app link

Radiology 2-0

[LEFT] Blunt chest trauma CT from Radiology 2.0. Touching the screen and moving finger up or down will pan through the different slices. [RIGHT] Blunt chest trauma explanation page

AboutIntroductory educational tool on the CT appearance of basic Emergency Department pathology
  • Scroll through like a real CT with touchscreen! (The pathology is highlighted later in the explanation page.)
  • Has sections on blunt abdominal and chest trauma
  • Thorough reviews of cases with take-home points
  • Highly rated on the app store for both iPad and iPhone
  • Free
  • No neuroradiology or musculoskeletal images
  • Minimal plain films
  • Because the text pages do not have images embedded, it reads like a print book

Orthopedic Injuries: Orthobullets

Creator: Derek Moore, MD

Information page about Supracondylar Fracture from OrthoBullets

Information page about Supracondylar Fracture from OrthoBullets


AboutFree education site with classic images and management options designed primarily to prepare orthopedic surgeons for standardized exams
  • Large database of orthopedic injury imaging as well as traumatic neck injuries
  • Fast, simple bullet points make the site easy to read
  • Helpful for grading injury type, prognosticating and planning for admission versus outpatient follow-up as well as how to appropriately splint injuries
  • Simplified
  • Limited to orthopedics
  • Mere listing of imaging findings with minimal tutelage about how to interpret the images

Honorable mentions

A large number of educational radiology material are currently available. Some were found to be limited in scope, ease of use, free open access nature or general applicability for the EM physician. While these sources may have limitations they do have features that deserve honorable mention.

  • Lieberman’s eRadiology 
    • Online video lectures/tutorials (some up to 90 minutes in length) similar to a classroom session on topics ranging from MRI to ultrasound, with minimal neuroradiology and limited navigability.
  • Wayne State University Radiology Teaching File
    • Simple hypertext document which is not easily searchable but with a large breadth of pathology based case discussion.
  • HeadNeckBrainSpine
    • Great learning modules on head and neck imaging using CT and MRI and large case library, but limited to neuroradiology.
  • Radiology Masterclass
    • Quick, simple tutorials on a breadth of material (abdomen, chest, and neurological) on a mobile-friendly website, but with minimal distinction between for-pay courses and free tutorials in a busy layout.
Christian Rose, MD

Christian Rose, MD

Clinical Informatics Fellow
Stanford University;
Emergency Physician, Kaiser Permanente
Alec Weir, MD

Alec Weir, MD

Academic Chief Resident
Department of Emergency Medicine
UT Southwestern/Parkland Hospital