Shortening the time window of research knowledge to clinical application is one of the major aims of the Free Open-Access Medical Education (FOAMed) movement. When new research is published, it often takes years, and sometimes decades, for that information to trickle out into mainstream practice. That’s where FOAMed shows some of its greatest promise. In fact, FOAMed junkies might occasionally be accused of being the opposite of late-adaptors; many of our most enthusiastic FOAMed consumers have been criticized for adopting new ideas too quickly, based solely on a podcast or a blog that may have been based on a body of low quality research.
There’s probably some truth to that, but in reality, we haven’t heard too many stories about cases gone wrong because a physician was blindly following the advice of some joker with a blog or a podcast available on iTunes. In fact, we’ve found that FOAMed consumers tend to be the ones who are likely to be among the most informed when it comes to journals and text books, not just what’s free online. We’d like to think that’s because FOAMed encourages its users to go deeper than one podcast or a blog and inspires them to look carefully into a topic being discussed. Sometimes you find that what passes for “cutting-edge FOAMed” is actually a venerable treatment that, for some reason, has been supplanted by something shiny and new. In that spirit, in a recent episode of FOAMcast, we covered some FOAMed that advocated for the return of a tried-and-true treatment masquerading as progressive medicine for an emergency medical condition that we treat all the time: alcohol withdrawal.