Substance out of FOAM: An Asynchronous Digital Course in Emergency Medicine

June 5, 2017 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM

Gita Pensa Warren, Alpert School of Medicine, Brown University

Many residents independently consume digital educational media such as medical blogs and podcasts, much of which is part of the Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM) movement. Emergency Medicine residents are permitted by ACGME guidelines to obtain 20% of their required conference hours asynchronously, given the following requirements:

  1. The program director must monitor resident participation.
  2. There must be an evaluation component.
  3. There must be faculty oversight.
  4. The activity must be monitored for effectiveness.

Using an online learning management system (LMS), we designed a fully asynchronous, faculty-directed digital course in emergency medicine (EM) that fulfills these requirements in a format that can be tracked and archived for reporting purposes. This course provides faculty perspective for residents using FOAM/online resources, while allowing residents to earn ACGME-compliant conference credit. This course,"Asynchrony", is in its third year.

Each digital module covers one topic and includes an informal narrative 'assignment page', weaving in hyperlinks to curated digital sources. Next comes a mandatory discussion page, which gates access to a multiple choice quiz that must be passed for the LMS to log credits.

Survey data from the first year, with 33 of our 48 residents responding, evaluated the program, using a 5-point Likert scale with 5 being ‘outstanding’:

  • Ease of use (mean score = 4.15)
  • Quality of content (mean 4.58)
  • Variety of content (mean 4.58)
  • Resources utilized (4.36)
  • Appropriateness of time spent doing the activity (mean 4.03)

A sample assignment page is visible here:

And the course introduction video: