FOAM EMCC Bloggers

What better way to spend a weekend than analysing the world of #FOAM in emergency medicine and critical care?

Key pages updated include:

Yes, it is that time of the year again when we update our database pertaining to the world of EMCC (emergency medicine and critical care)

We started the collaboration project back in 2008 when we first reviewed the medical blogging ecosystem – and oh how that landscape has changed. For once where there was an arid land with dry scrub, now doth a veritable forrest grow.

Tor Ercleve 2012

Initially it was easy to find the few medical blogs in active existence and review their content, author and structure. When LITFL was but a seedling, the medical blogosphere was populated with 76 blogs spanning all specialties. These were mainly single author (73) personal blogs (68) with the exception of a few notable education based blogs (such as @DrVes – Clinical Cases blog). Indeed, there were only 9 blogs which ran predominantly educational content and most (56) blogs were written anonymously. In fact there was little way of actually determining either the credentials of the original author or the country of origin of the blog (until the advent of twitter that is…). LITFL followed most of these trends starting out as a personal medblog – with no way of determining the authors real name or location

The 2012 review has seen significant changes in the medical blogging ecosystem and as a result only includes the rapidly growing field of emergency medicne and critical care blogs and podcasts. Our review covers 130 blogs in 17 different countries.

Such is the rate of growth that our manual data entry of the podcasts has become overburdened to the point of exhaustion and we now have to have submission forms for new EMCC blogs and individual EMCC podcast episodes. We have revamped the searchable podcast database and users are now able to search by blog name, geographic location, language and topic keywords to find the most appropriate podcast for them. We have made a good start on the database with >1800 podcasts now listed!

Whilst reviewing the EMCC blogs and podcasts we have made some significant changes to the way we display the blogroll.

  • Addition of Blog based Pages on Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, Vimeo, YouTube and iTunes
  • Addition of RSS feeds and iTunes subscription feeds
  • Removal of blogs with no discernable signs of life for >6months
  • Updating the podcast database and adding new submission forms for the latest podcasts


Interesting findings form the survey include

  • EMCC blogs and podcasts have grown from 67 to 130 over the past 18 months
  • Increasing participation and information dissemination through social media
    • 77%Twitter (100/130)
    • 42%Facebook (55/130)
    • 20%Google + (26/130)
    • 15% – Media account such as YouTube or Vimeo (20/130)
  • …but interestingly 9% (12/130) failed to provide a valid RSS Feed for blog content
  • A legal disclaimer now exists on 86% of sites
  • An increasing number of blogs (21%) now have multiple authors
  • Audiovisual learning is on the rise with 20% of EMCC bloggers employing external multimedia and iTunes
  • There is better identification of authors with 94% of blogs and podcasts citing the full name, credentials, contact form and geographical location of blog authors
  • Blogging is an increasingly global collaborationwith over 17 countries represented:
    • USA (75), Australia (22), Canada (5), UK (4), New Zealand (4)
    • France (1), Chile (1), Germany (1), Croatia (1), Italy (3), Spain (3), Ireland (1), Israel (1), Malaysia (1), Latin America (1), Sweeden (1), Singapore (1), Scandanavia (1)

I am not sure exactly why there are so many EMCC blogs in existence, or why they are appearing with such rapidity. Maybe it is because a lot of our work is frontline, public, diverse and altruistic that there are so many stories and so many educational resources being shared freely and without reservation using the language of #FOAM.

If you think we have missed an awesome new EMCC  emergency medicine and critical care blog…let us know…

One page source feed

To stop the potential for information overload the next stage is to re-instate the live ‘mixed feed‘ from all the blogs. This was initially created using Yahoo pipes and worked well for the first year or so, but was surpassed by the emergence of Medworm and the Feedly embedable unifying feed.  Unfortunately Feedly has stopped allowing the iframe embed and Medworm has stopped being updated (and is now not accepting submissions from new blogs).

We are still trying to find a solution to getting back a page which has a single feed for all the EMCC blogs. Any bright ideas gratefully accepted! Our current options include:

  1. Write some code to embed Feedly
  2. Re-create Yahoo pipes feed as a single feed (with a feed with icon, date, blog name and excerpt) and allow any blog to host the ‘unified feed
  3. Testing some simple embed options – but this is very slow indeed, and will get even slower with a list of 130 blogs!

vive la FOAM

FOAM Free Open Access Meducation


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  1. says

    Remarkable summary, Mike.

    I’ve seen something similar (on a smaller scale) with the allergy and immunology accounts. In 2008, I was the only one tweeting from a major national scientific meeting (ACAAI) and it was a lonely experience. In 2011, there were 30 allergists reporting from a similar meeting, providing a rich and engaging feed of high-value updates in real time.

    My guess is that the outstanding example provided by Life in The Fast Lane and a few others physician bloggers and podcasters encourage others to join in by showing them how to use use social media in practice and at the same time demonstrating the remarkable value both physicians and patients receive from using the two way street provided by these new communication channels.

    Thank for you showing the way and maintaining the focus day after the day. I know it’s not easy for your guys to find the time but having Life in The Fast Lane and the other bloggers/podcasters is inspiring to many others. Keep up the great work.

    • says

      Thank you Dr Ves
      The support and collaboration within the community is really starting to take off. Those lonely nights blogging, tweeting and coding are starting to pay dividend and seem inversely proportional to the quizzical looks that physicians give when discussing social media and medical education.
      This is the tipping point for open source education and we are proud to stand with you on the precipice

  2. Duncan says

    not including blogs with no sign of life for >6 months is valid if your object is blog updates, but not if the goal of the blogs has been achieved and they are being left up. I would suggest a quick manual review of ‘obsolete’ blogs to check if the content is still worthwhile linking to -- a good educational resource that hasn’t been updated in 7 months might still be a good educational resource -- maybe as an alternately titled link if it doesn’t naturally fit under ‘blogroll’.

    • says

      Right then…have added another 20 blogs from the ‘idle blog links’
      …very glad you mentioned it -- as a couple of them should never have been on the list in the first place!

      I agree there are some gems of posts within the blogs that we still have access to (a few of the blogs have gone completely underground with private access only)

      Thanks for spotting mistake