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#FOAMems: the impact to date
posterposted on 07.09.2018, 00:00 by P Mason, Alan Batt, D Steary
Background Twitter use amongst paramedics and other clinicians involved in prehospital care is on the rise, and is increasingly being used as a platform for continuing education and international collaboration. In 2014 the hashtag “FOAMems” (#FOAMems) was registered. It is used by clinicians who are involved in the sharing of clinical and other knowledge related to emergency medical services (EMS), paramedicine and prehospital care. It is an extension of the FOAM (free open access medical education) movement. Objective The purpose of this study was to characterise and evaluate the content of #FOAMems tweets in the first two years of operation. Methods An analytical report for #FOAMems was generated on symplur.com, with a search date from 4th February 2014 (registration date of hashtag) to 4th February 2016, a total period of 24 months. The full transcript and analysis of all tweets for a randomly selected one month period (1st-31st October 2015) containing the hashtag was also generated on both symplur.com and Followthehashtag. All tweets for the one month period were reviewed and categorised by two reviewers. Data from both reports was used to obtain the results. Results During the study period, there were over 42,000 tweets containing #FOAMems, generated by over 6,000 participants. These tweets resulted in over 60 million impressions. The top 92 tweeters of #FOAMems during this period were analysed for professional qualification or identity. Of these, 48 were paramedics (52%). Tweets were also categorised based on content, source (original tweet or retweet) and whether referenced. Conclusion Paramedics are engaging with both clinical and non-clinical content on Twitter using #FOAMems, with the majority of tweets relating to clinical issues. Social media resources are widely tweeted, which is in line with the FOAM movement’s philosophy. However, opportunities exist for paramedics to share further diverse clinical knowledge supported by referenced material.