"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has."

Margaret Mead
Original article
peer-reviewed

Use of Free, Open Access Medical Education and Perceived Emergency Medicine Educational Needs Among Rural Physicians in Southwestern Ontario



Abstract

Free, open access medical education (FOAM) has the potential to revolutionize continuing medical education, particularly for rural physicians who practice emergency medicine (EM) as part of a generalist practice. However, there has been little study of rural physicians’ educational needs since the advent of FOAM. We asked how rural physicians in Southwestern Ontario obtained their continuing EM education. We asked them to assess their perceived level of comfort in different areas of EM. To understand how FOAM resources might serve the rural EM community, we compared their responses with urban emergency physicians. Responses were collected via survey and interview. There was no significant difference between groups in reported use of FOAM resources. However, there was a significant difference between rural and urban physicians’ perceived level of EM knowledge, with urban physicians reporting a higher degree of confidence for most knowledge categories, particularly those related to critical care and rare procedures. This study provides the first description of EM knowledge and FOAM resource utilization among rural physicians in Southwestern Ontario. It also highlights an area of educational need -- that is, critical care and rare procedures. Future work should address whether rural physicians are using FOAM specifically to improve their critical care and procedural knowledge. As well, because of the generalist nature of rural practice, future work should clarify whether there is an opportunity cost to rural physicians’ knowledge of other clinical domains if they chose to focus more time on continuing education in critical care EM.



Want to read more?

Create a free account to continue reading this article.

Already a member? Login.



Original article
peer-reviewed

Use of Free, Open Access Medical Education and Perceived Emergency Medicine Educational Needs Among Rural Physicians in Southwestern Ontario


Author Information

Alex Folkl Corresponding Author

Emergency Medicine, Guelph General Hospital

Teresa Chan

Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University

Elaine Blau

Department of Family Medicine - Rural Residency Site Director, McMaster University


Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. Hamilton Integrated Ethics Review Board issued approval 15-013. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared the following conflicts of interest: Financial relationships: Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from McMaster University. Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from Hamilton-Wentworth Local Health Integration Network. Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Other relationships: Dr. Chan is the social media editor for the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. She also volunteers as a blogger for for major FOAM outlets (Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, BoringEM). .


Original article
peer-reviewed

Use of Free, Open Access Medical Education and Perceived Emergency Medicine Educational Needs Among Rural Physicians in Southwestern Ontario


Figures etc.

Share
Original article
peer-reviewed

Use of Free, Open Access Medical Education and Perceived Emergency Medicine Educational Needs Among Rural Physicians in Southwestern Ontario

  • Author Information
    Alex Folkl Corresponding Author

    Emergency Medicine, Guelph General Hospital

    Teresa Chan

    Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University

    Elaine Blau

    Department of Family Medicine - Rural Residency Site Director, McMaster University


    Ethics Statement and Conflict of Interest Disclosures

    Human subjects: Consent was obtained by all participants in this study. Hamilton Integrated Ethics Review Board issued approval 15-013. Animal subjects: This study did not involve animal subjects or tissue. Conflicts of interest: The authors have declared the following conflicts of interest: Financial relationships: Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from McMaster University. Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from Hamilton-Wentworth Local Health Integration Network. Dr. Chan declare(s) a grant from Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. Other relationships: Dr. Chan is the social media editor for the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. She also volunteers as a blogger for for major FOAM outlets (Academic Life in Emergency Medicine, BoringEM). .

    Acknowledgements


    Article Information

    Published: September 21, 2016

    DOI

    10.7759/cureus.796

    Cite this article as:

    Folkl A, Chan T, Blau E (September 21, 2016) Use of Free, Open Access Medical Education and Perceived Emergency Medicine Educational Needs Among Rural Physicians in Southwestern Ontario. Cureus 8(9): e796. doi:10.7759/cureus.796

    Publication history

    Received by Cureus: March 23, 2016
    Peer review began: March 24, 2016
    Peer review concluded: September 16, 2016
    Published: September 21, 2016

    Copyright

    © Copyright 2016
    Folkl et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 3.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

    License

    This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Abstract

Free, open access medical education (FOAM) has the potential to revolutionize continuing medical education, particularly for rural physicians who practice emergency medicine (EM) as part of a generalist practice. However, there has been little study of rural physicians’ educational needs since the advent of FOAM. We asked how rural physicians in Southwestern Ontario obtained their continuing EM education. We asked them to assess their perceived level of comfort in different areas of EM. To understand how FOAM resources might serve the rural EM community, we compared their responses with urban emergency physicians. Responses were collected via survey and interview. There was no significant difference between groups in reported use of FOAM resources. However, there was a significant difference between rural and urban physicians’ perceived level of EM knowledge, with urban physicians reporting a higher degree of confidence for most knowledge categories, particularly those related to critical care and rare procedures. This study provides the first description of EM knowledge and FOAM resource utilization among rural physicians in Southwestern Ontario. It also highlights an area of educational need -- that is, critical care and rare procedures. Future work should address whether rural physicians are using FOAM specifically to improve their critical care and procedural knowledge. As well, because of the generalist nature of rural practice, future work should clarify whether there is an opportunity cost to rural physicians’ knowledge of other clinical domains if they chose to focus more time on continuing education in critical care EM.



Want to read more?

Create a free account to continue reading this article.

Already a member? Login.



Alex Folkl

Emergency Medicine, Guelph General Hospital

For correspondence:
alex.folkl@medportal.ca

Teresa Chan

Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University

Elaine Blau

Department of Family Medicine - Rural Residency Site Director, McMaster University

Alex Folkl

Emergency Medicine, Guelph General Hospital

For correspondence:
alex.folkl@medportal.ca

Teresa Chan

Faculty of Health Sciences, Division of Emergency Medicine, McMaster University

Elaine Blau

Department of Family Medicine - Rural Residency Site Director, McMaster University