Improving Outcomes, Improving Throughput, Mythbusting, Twelve Trials of Christmas!

The 12th Day of Christmas- #FOAM to what effect?

Welcome to the Twelve Trials of Christmas series on EMinFocus! This is the last of twelve posts in a series where I ramble on various topics for which I would love to see an EM study done.  I’ve taken morsels of prior studies (case series, small trials, etc) and highlight reasons on why I believe this study would benefit EM.  Some may pan out, some may not. All of them I would be highly interested in assisting with in any way possible to continue to advance our fine specialty.

From Chris Nickson & Mike Cadogan: “Scientific research in the clinical sciences is essentially worthless unless it alters patient outcomes.  Social media and FOAM have the potential to play a major role in knowledge translation.”

While I whole heartedly agree that FOAM spreads the knowledge, what is our rate of provider penetration?  Why are we not using it?  What if we make LITFL the department homepage?  Once someone has tried Twitter (or any other FOAM resource), do they continue to use it? Do residency programs that have an active twitter presence produce attendings that continue to use #FOAM 2 years after completing residency?  What about 5 or 10 years out?  What about their midlevels?

I’d like to poll various ED providers on whether or not they actively use #FOAM, and then quiz them on various topics to see if they attain standard of care.  This could be across a variety of things like sterile technique for suturing, use of kayexalate, and use of narcotics in acute headaches.  We could then ask questions more trendy in #FOAM such as use of DSI, use of regional anesthesia, and RUSH protocol. Hell, we could also see if it affects outcomes and patient satisfaction.

Ultimately, I would suspect that the rate of FOAM use is low, and those that use it more frequently would be more likely to use cutting edge treatments like DSI, regional anesthesia, and not use narcs for headaches. But hey, I’m a bit biased.


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