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#FOAMed Errors and How to Correct Them

August 20, 2019

Written by Clay Smith

Spoon Feed
Free Open Access Medical Education (FOAM or #FOAMed) allows information to rapidly and widely disseminate. It’s paramount to make sure errors are minimized and addressed when they occur. Here’s how.

Why does this matter?
Social media is a great way to communicate information and misinformation, because it spreads widely and rapidly. When medical misinformation is shared, clinicians may not view it critically, assume it is correct, put it into practice, and cause patient harm. What is the best way to handle SM errors?

Disseminating misinformation faster than ever!
This article presented two erroneous blog posts. One showed a paced rhythm but was meant to show an ECG with hypocalcemia changes. This reached 21,000 people before the error was caught. Another had incorrect information in a graphic on necrotising fasciitis and reached 11,000 people before it was corrected.

They propose the following when errors on SM happen.

  • Note when posts have been corrected and what the error was.

  • Add dates and version numbers to posts or graphics, so users know if they have the latest, correct version.

  • Bolster internal peer review prior to posting on social media.

Simon Carley, in the editorial, notes not only the speed at which the above posts spread but the speed at which the errors were spotted and corrected – far faster than traditional journals. He also notes that though FOAM sites are often impugned, traditional journals are not immune to publishing erroneous material, despite an even more rigorous peer review process.

Of note, here at JournalFeed, we try hard to have a non-author review each post before it goes out. Our posts have a date and timestamp. When readers spot minor errors (grammatical, etc), we just correct them. If there are factual errors or important clarifications that may impact patient care, we note it in the posts – such as this clarification and this correction.

Learning from mistakes on social media. Emerg Med J. 2019 Jul 10. pii: emermed-2019-208501. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2019-208501. [Epub ahead of print] Open in Read by QxMD

#FOAMed errors: does the opportunity for speedy resolution outweigh the risk of rapid dissemination? Emerg Med J. 2019 Jul 10. pii: emermed-2019-208787. doi: 10.1136/emermed-2019-208787. [Epub ahead of print] .

Open in Read by QxMD

Reviewed by Thomas Davis

What are your thoughts?