Two new studies, published online in Annals of Emergency Medicine, illustrate the power of social media and the Internet to promote scholarly dialogue around the world and the importance of establishing criteria for what constitutes high-quality blogs and podcasts ("Global Emergency Medicine Journal Club: A Social Media Discussion About the ADJUST-PE Trial" and "Emergency Medicine and Critical Care Blogs and Podcasts: Establishing an International Consensus on Quality").
"Our Global Emergency Medicine Journal Club creates a virtual space to allow interested stakeholders to share insights, perspectives and concerns in an open and transparent arena," said lead study author Salim Rezaie, MD, of The University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio, Texas. "Sharing information globally helps emergency medicine practitioners identify knowledge gaps, generate hypotheses and potentially achieve community consensus."
Annals of Emergency Medicine collaborated with an educational website, Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, to host an online discussion session on whether an age-adjusted D-dimer cutoff would improve the diagnostic yield in excluding pulmonary embolism (PE) in older patients. Digital conversations occurred on Twitter, a Google Hangout video interview and a podcast review. By the end of two weeks, this worldwide academic dialogue among clinicians attracted 1,169 page views from 391 cities in 52 countries.
The proliferation of resources such as blogs and podcasts has been driven in part by the popularity of the Free Open-Access Medical Education (FOAMed) movement. This prompted researchers to develop a set of quality indicators by which to evaluate credibility, content and design of online resources for medical education. Researchers whittled a list of 151 indicators down to the most important quality indicators: 14 for blogs and 26 for podcasts.
"This information may be helpful for resource producers looking to improve the quality of their websites as well as for learners, educators and academic leaders struggling to assess the quality of online resources," said lead study author Brent Thoma, MD, MA of Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, Mass. "In the future, we hope to develop a user-friendly quality assessment tool for blogs and podcasts. Emergency physicians go online to educate themselves, just like everyone else, and share ideas about how to improve the practice of emergency medicine."
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