Why A Blog Can Be Better Than A Medical Textbook

Why A Blog Can Be Better Than A Medical Textbook

Why A Blog Can Be Better Than A Medical Textbook

Why A Blog Can Be Better Than A Medical Textbook

There are a lot of ways people churn up answers when it comes to medical advice, and I’ve heard them all.  From the trusted relative or family friend, “My uncle’s friend told me…” to the all inclusive embodiment of the entire medical community, “They say…” There are plenty of ways to arrive at “facts”, so what’s the best source? All of them.

In the physicians toolbox there are countless ways to acquire reputable medical information. In six years of medical school training and with at two or more years of residency, every doctor is equipped with a working knowledge of their field and a general understanding of most cases we see. But once in awhile, we’ll see something unique. It could be the way a patient is acting, and describing their condition, and tests show unexpected outcomes. Or maybe it’s the initial cause of a symptom that we have to find the root of. Either way, knowledge is key.

The Evidence Hierarchy Pyramid is Great for Statisticians

This pyramid is the standard form by which we measure the validity of research in the medical field. As you climb the pyramid the sample sizes get larger, and the research is more closely linked to specific cases.

The weakness with this data based assessment is that not all cases and situations have large bodies of double blind placebo trials to draw research from. As physicians, we continue to look for newer, better, and more relevant studies to help our patients. That’s where FOAMed comes in.

FOAMed is free open access medical education

FOAMed is is filled with blogs websites, podcasts and commentary from doctors around the world and posted in real time. Trials and research can take years to validate and publish and when dealing with time sensitive health issues, sometimes we want to find the best data without time sapping barriers.

The key is to view many different forms of old and new research and compile a bigger picture of the situation.

These resources include up-to-date findings by experts who analyze the literature and find what’s working. This type of researching flips the idea that the pinnacle standard for research is the placebo controlled double blind trial. Those trials sometimes can be too specific and although they can answer a specific question perfectly, they are not always clinically relevant.

Prove it!

I know what you’re thinking. How can we trust the data if it’s speculation or not 100% proven? Well, the answer to that is to respond to what you mean by the burden of proof. Some minor studies or even anecdotal evidence may be exactly the information we need to help understand a rare case.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s extremely important to question the data we see on sites like FOAMed. Luckily, the site provides an entire network of doctors and research physicians who respond, discuss, and question the procedures and finding. These doctors are engaging in a conversation, making comments about the pros and cons of trials and claims, and finding the best ways to improve patient care.

In the end, the rote memorization of medical school is essential. With it we can put together a framework of understanding that helps make the big picture clear. But when it comes down to it, blogs are the future of ongoing education, and they provide the framework to help us find the newest, rarest, and fastest answers to hard questions.