Formula for the Future

Interesting and enthusiastic debate on Twitter last night from a variety of sources in response to Minh le Cong’s question “How can we get more rural doctors to SMACC2014?”. The reality is that social media (SoMe) has negative connotations for many doctors…indeed one wit even suggested that whilst doctors are considered conservative, rural doctors are somewhere to the right of Thatcher. Not a view I subscribe to, but hey…. Regardless, most doctors’ eyes glaze over once they hear ‘social media’ – not surprising, as the expectation is crap from Facebook, inane tweets about Paris Hilton or fear of yet another stream of unfiltered information to assimilate.

I used to think like that. But exposure to high quality blogs like LITFL, BroomeDocs and that were relevant to my practice changed all that about two years ago. Concomitantly Minh gained a reputation as a promiscuous blogger, starting up the PHARM and encouraging wide-ranging debate on a variety of topics. SoMe has enabled even a country doc in the sticks like me to engage in discussion on topics relevant to my practice, with hard hitters around the world – Karim Brohi, Scott Weingart, Cliff Reid etc as well as rural docs with a strong EM/Anaes focus (Casey Parker, Minh le Cong).

#SMACC2013 was notable for bringing the tools of SoMe and FOAMed to bear on cutting edge EM/critical care. There was lots of useful stuff here for rural generalists – and paramedics, nurses etc – not just hardcore ED and ICU docs. I’d encourage rural docs to get along to #SMACC2014 if they have ANY involvement with emergency or critical care – and most of us do, through our work on call and without immediate back up in the bush.

But it is important to realise that #FOAMed is much more that EM/CC – it’s just that the EM/CC community have embraced it already.

So in answer to Minh’s question, some suggested a ‘rural stream’ or ‘making #SMACC2014 for rural doctors”. I think that’s wrong. SMACC is a critical care conference. There are overlaps relevant to rural medicine…but there are also overlaps with obs, with paeds, with primary care, with dermatology, with ENT etc etc

Better to embed FOAMed into existing content for GPs – whether rural or metro. Let’s hope that both the RACGP’s GP13 conference in Darwin and ACRRM’s RMA2013 conference in Cairns will embrace not just SoMe, but the power of #FOAMed.

Bright spark Dave Townsend summarised it in one simple formula (which I’ve plagiarised) :


Screen Shot 2013-04-03 at 4.23.55 PM
A formula for the future in rural medicine?


Let’s hope RACGP, ACRRM and the various Rural Doctors Associations will embrace the FOAMed paradigm…it is an excellent way to both keep up-to-date, to discuss relevant medical matters and overcome some of the barriers of isolation in the bush.

Of course this does require both Leadership and Followership…readers will know that I’ve been a critic of both turgid medical conferences and farcical ‘upskilling’ sessions in the past, where subject material has lagged years behind what is being discussed in #FOAMed.

So you can imagine my disappointment – contacted by a potential speaker for the rural doctor masterclass – a senior anaesthetist – who asked “What’s DSI?”. Illustrates the problem of experts in one field talking to practitioners in another – yes, there is much to learn from a senior FANZCA…but also a need to understand the audience and have a firm grasp on #FOAMed material that is of relevance.

Ho hum.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *