Demystifying Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM)
The idea that students and medical practitioners should be able to access cutting-edge, sophisticated information, in order to improve their understanding and knowledge, gave birth to the concept of Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM).
FOAM is a growing, online community for open access medical education resources. The community is made up of blogs, Google hangouts, videos, text documents, images, Facebook groups and is thus independent of the media or platform. The only objective of FOAM is to share up-to-date information within the medical fraternity, free of cost.
The Belief behind FOAM
Medical experts see a lot of patients each year. In most of the cases, they maintain a history of each and every patient with them in order to understand the patient’s behaviour over a period of time. Besides this, they take part in certain research work, attend medical conferences or prepare case studies from time to time. All these activities generate a lot of data for a single doctor. Now imagine the total amount of data that gets created by all the medical practitioners, worldwide. Advocates of FOAM believe that this data, if shared with a larger community, would be much more beneficial and worthwhile, than when it would be available to just an individual expert.
The Nuts and Bolts of FOAM
Over the years the popular source of latest and reliable information has moved from books and journals to the internet. On one hand, FOAM aims to bring together a large number of medical experts, especially emergency medicine experts, to enable them to share their knowledge and research with others. In doing so, they harness the power of social media and contribute towards spreading medical education, through the internet. These experts take on the role of Educators.
On the other hand, it aims to bring students on the same platform. Students take on the role of Learners. The Learners try to pick up nuggets of information that is available on the internet and are constantly looking out for sources of information that are reliable, latest and detailed.
FOAM is bridging the gap between Educators and Learners, in the process making an attempt to transform passive learners into active listeners. Further, everything available on FOAM is free of cost with no sponsorships from pharma companies and larger corporates, providing an equal opportunity to all. In the long run, FOAM plugs knowledge gaps and training gaps by making non-sensitive information easily available, ensuring better healthcare systems globally.