FOAMed is Overwhelming! Where do I start?!

Joseph Walter (@joewalter9999) has done the brave work of stepping into spiderweb of FOAMed and has walked out not only alive, but with an excellent quick start guide for those unsure where to start.

FOAMed-01

1. RSS Feeds

Find a site you would like to follow (such as EMCRIT).
Many sites will have other symbols that allow you to follow on Twitter, have posts emailed to you, etc. I only mention this as you may prefer to follow information in a different way and these are other ways to do so.

2. RSS Readers

There are many to choose from (Feedly, NewsBlur, Perfect RSS Reader, River of News, others). I personally use NewsBlur but have tried the others listed and they all have their pluses and minuses. I like NewsBlur as it has an easy to use interface allowing you to sort by your unread posts and can also save the ones you like to a seperate area. You can also double tap the screen and it will take you to the actual site itself if you are interested.

The instructions below are for NewsBlur on how to add new sites to follow.

To add a site to follow, hit the ‘+’ sign in the bottom left.
Then paste the RSS URL link from step 1 into the provided space.

3. Podcast Applications

Again, there are many out there (Podcasts (on your iPhone automatically and syncs with itunes), InstaCast, DownCast, PocketCasts, more) all of which do the job. This is where you can download podcasts and vidcasts to listen to at a time of your choosing (driving to work, walking the dog, etc). I personally like Downcast and have a few pictures below showing the basic layout of this app as well as the player itself and lastly a shot showing how you can go back and download old episodes if you want.

4. Compilation Lists

This relates to lists of FOAM topics that other people have found to be useful or have been peer-reviewed.
There is a weekly review done at Life in the Fast Lane (LITFL Review) that is quite good.
Academic Life in Emergency Medicine has a series called the AIR (Approved Instructional Resources) Series (with our own Felix Ankel as a board member) which has links to blogs and podcasts that are high quality posts that the board feel will bolster resident education.

5. Social Networks

This has basically become synonymous with Twitter. Twitter can be quite overwhelming early on but can be a useful tool once you play around with it.
A useful place to start for FOAMed is to use the @Foamstarter Twitter handle and then following all the people who they are following (there are 31 people currently). These are the people who are putting out the most EM/CC based medical education on Twitter and this is regularly updated. This is a good place to start.
I use a format called Tweetdeck. I like this format a little better. Feel free to check it out.
You can then just browse your feed, save your favorite tweets (especially if you want to find them later), throw questions out to others or leaders in the field, see all the posts that someone you are following has posted, etc.

6. Custom Search Engine

Very useful tool called Foam Search. This is designed to search through a large array of journals, blogs, podcasts, etc.
Can be useful during those times “How do I dose esmolol for refractory v fib?” (search ‘esmolol vf’) or “I heard on emrap once about an argument where don’t need to treat strep with antibiotics?” (search ’emrap strep’)

I am also a big fan of, Google Chrome, which may or may not be supported by your organization’s security. Chrome has the ability to open a set of web pages automatically when I sign in (ie. my 3 email accounts, FOAM search, Wikipedia, Openathens, the MN prescription monitoring database and a few others). This is very handy while working…

7. Pubmed Notifications/ Library Access

If you would like getting email notifications on new primary lit as it is coming out. I have these autoforwarded to my evernote account in case I want to search for something later on.
Like Regions Hospital Medical Library, your medical library may have access to most of the journals that you want at Openathens. If you don’t have access you can request it through the library. This will allow you to get PDFs from all the journals you want.

 

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