FOAMed & Homeopathy

FOAMed is powerful medicine. I recently tweeted on ‘what I love about FOAMed’ :

#1 : information is a commodity…yet everything is free. Share the love…

#2 : sense of community, common passion for improved patient care & advancing via education

#3 : adding finesse, refining practice based on shared tacit knowledge..

#4 : it’s asynchronous. I can keep updated in own time, podcasts/vodcasts/blogposts rather than in real time

This is all well and good – free open access medical education helps experienced clinicians share information..and is invaluable for me as a rural doctor. But how about our patients?

The more enlightened I am as a clinician, the better I can deliver effective remedies. Which makes the recent report from the NHMRC on Homeopathy even more interesting.

Put simply, there is no evidence for the homeopathy as an effective remedy, compared to placebo. This is explained more at the ‘how does homeopathy work?’ website or the ten:23 site

I believe that as clinicians we need to educate our patients about this. Similarly we need to encourage health insurers to stop funding these remedies from our premiums.

Point your patients to the report HERE

We have medicine and alternative medicine.

What works, we call medicine. The rest – alternative.

When alternative medicine works, we call it…medicine

It’s time to stop subsidising these unproven “therapies”.  Tim Minchin summaries this in his infamous ‘Storm’ beat poem & animated video :

If you want to have a bit of fun, write to your health insurer and ask them to stop subsidising homeopathy with your premiums. Ditto stroll into the local pharmacist and ask them why they are selling placebo.

Let’s not kid ourselves, homeopathy and indeed other “alternative medicine” is big business. Whilst some patients are sceptical of ‘Big Pharma’, it is worth reminding them that the Alternative Medicine industry is equally a business with ulterior motives – and in the case of homeopathy, is selling water to the gullible.

It behoves us to critically appraise claims (both established and alternative) and to seek to improve based on the available evidence.

That is the essence of FOAMed – to improve clinical practice through critical appraisal to apply effective treatments.



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