Evidence-based medicine in the era of social media: Scholarly engagement through participation and online interaction
The integration of new knowledge into clinical practice continues to lag behind discovery. The use of Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) has disrupted communication between emergency physicians, making it easy for practicing clinicians to interact with colleagues from around the world to discuss the latest and highest impact research. FOAM has the potential to decrease the knowledge translation gap, but the concerns raised about its growing influence are 1) research that is translated too quickly may cause harm if its findings are incorrect; 2) there is little editorial oversight of online material; and 3) eminent online individuals may develop an outsized influence on clinical practice. We propose that new types of scholars are emerging to moderate the changing landscape of knowledge translation: 1) critical clinicians who critically appraise research in the same way that lay reviewers critique restaurants; 2) translational teachers adept with these new technologies who will work with researchers to disseminate their findings effectively; and 3) interactive investigators who engage with clinicians to ensure that their findings resonate and are applied at the bedside. The development of these scholars could build on the promise of evidence-based medicine by enhancing the appraisal and translation of research in practice.
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