Research Article
Volume 5 Issue 12 - 2021
Free Open Access Medical Education: A National Needs Assessment

Alvin Yang1*, Maria Mathews2, Adrienne Wakabayashi2 and Munsif Bhimani3

1Department of Family Medicine Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
2Department of Family Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
3Department of Family Medicine Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada
*Corresponding Author: Alvin Yang, Department of Family Medicine Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine, Western University, London, Ontario, Canada.
Received: October 25, 2021; Published: November 23, 2021


Purpose of the Study: Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) refers to the collection of online medical educational resources. This study describes resident and program director usage of FOAM in Emergency Medicine, assesses residents’ needs for increased faculty support, and describes program directors’ perceptions of curriculum adoption.

Study Design: An online survey was distributed to Canadian residents and program directors of Family Medicine, Family Medicine Enhanced Skills in Emergency Medicine, and Emergency Medicine programs that offered training in English. Research objectives were represented using descriptive statistics.

Results: The survey was completed by 161/1322 (12.2%) residents and 23/40 (57.5%) program directors. Nearly all residents (99.4%) used FOAM each week. Many residents never or rarely evaluated evidence quality (50.3%) despite a majority wanting their resources to be evidence-based (92.9%). Most residents valued faculty recommendation (76.8%) and at least sometimes wanted more program guidance on FOAM use (70.1%); however, they rarely or never received it (79.3%). A majority of program directors (52.6%) believed their programs could possibly benefit from more FOAM integration, although top barriers were lack of faculty familiarity (73.7%) and lack of evidence quality assurance (68.4%). The top strategy for integration was distributing a list of residency-approved resources (76.5%).

Conclusion: Residents frequently use FOAM to learn Emergency Medicine concepts but rarely evaluate evidence quality. They desire increased faculty guidance but rarely receive it. program directors are open to incorporating more FOAM into their curricula but lack familiarity. Future directions could involve the creation of a curated list of residency-approved resources for dissemination to residents.

Keywords: Emergency Medicine; FOAM; FOAMed; Medical Education; Social Media


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Citation: Alvin Yang., et al. “Free Open Access Medical Education: A National Needs Assessment”. EC Emergency Medicine and Critical Care 5.12 (2021): 11-27.

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