FOAMbase – Blazing a trail for FOAMed-based CME
Nupur Garg, MD & Ben Azan, MD
Nupur Garg, MD, USACS
Ben Azan, MD, Attending Physician, Lincoln Medical Center
On-demand CME is now available for Free Open Access Medical education (FOAMed) content! Started by two Emergency Medicine physicians to meet the needs of our busy, on-the-go lifestyles, http://FOAMbase.org is a content / learning management website that allows EM Physicians to obtain CME for FOAMed content from the likes of Academic Life in Emergency Medicine (ALiEM) and emDocs.
What it is
FOAMbase provides AMA category 1 CME for FOAMed. FOAMed, for those who don’t know, is a movement in which authors create high quality articles or podcasts on relevant EM topics, and then distributes them for free. FOAMed is well regarded, contains high yield content, and most of all, the format is very accessible, especially to the typical EM physician. The posts are shorter than journal articles and often written with bullet-point formatting, frequently incorporate a summary of main take-aways. FOAMbase.org has a dedicated page for each article that links back to the original source (eg. ALiEM or emDocs). All other aspects of CME are taken care of on that article’s FOAMbase page. Required front-end material, pre-post test quizzes, payment processing, certificate generation, and a learning tracking dashboard are delivered directly within FOAMbase.
There are hundreds of FOAMed EM articles on the site, which are categorized by theme, ratable, and searchable. More articles as well as FOAMed authors are in the process being included. The target is to have comprehensive catalogue of content available for CME allowing EM physician to satisfy their yearly CME requirement via FOAMed.
FOAMed content on FOAMbase is and will always be 100% free to consume for anyone, anytime and from anywhere. If learners want to obtain CME credit for this content, there is a small fee of $8 per CME credit. The revenues go to the authors and FOAMbase. This helps sustain the FOAMbase effort and provides compensation to the author for the time spent creating the content.
While reading articles on FOAMed sites like ALiEM and emDocs, look out for a button that says “Get CME” to get redirected to that content’s FOAMbase page and begin the CME activity. On your first visit to FOAMbase.org, you will need to create an account. Make sure to choose “Attending” physician to open up CME options.
We are excited about this new value-add to your time, which enables you to obtain conveniently high quality and high yield education in Emergency Medicine while supporting the FOAMed community. Please let us know of any feedback you have regarding this new initiative.
How it started
FOAMbase was initially created by Ben Azan and developed based off of an open source platform Pligg, which was heavily modified to fit the needs of the FOAMed learner. ALiEM founder Michelle Lin inquired during a hallway discussion about the feasibility of providing CME for FOAMed content. Nupur Garg and Ben Azan took up this challenge. The goal was to develop a system, which could be used by any FOAMed content provider to offer CME to their readers. Within eight months FOAMbase CME was up and running. The pilot phase is still underway beginning with just ten pieces of ALiEM content with CME accreditation provided by EBMedicine, Inc. A few months after launch, we added more content providers and ACEP has joined as our CME accrediting body.
Building a CME management system is much more than building out the technology to run the activity. As newer generation physicians, we feel strongly connected to the mission of FOAMed and have worked hard to maintain its integrity. We view our main partners as FOAMed content writers and endeavor to add more value to FOAMed. Let us know if you have any suggestions for us!
We also could not possibly function without the broader emergency medicine community support, evident with our CME partners, EBMedicine and ACEP. Partnering with them has helped FOAMbase to offer AMA category 1 CME credits while allowing these organizations to give back to the FOAMed community.
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