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Evidence-based medicine in the era of social media: Scholarly engagement through participation and online interaction

  • Teresa Chan (a1), N. Seth Trueger (a2), Damian Roland (a3) and Brent Thoma (a4)
Abstract

The integration of new knowledge into clinical practice continues to lag behind discovery. The use of Free Open Access Medical education (FOAM) has disrupted communication between emergency physicians, making it easy for practicing clinicians to interact with colleagues from around the world to discuss the latest and highest impact research. FOAM has the potential to decrease the knowledge translation gap, but the concerns raised about its growing influence are 1) research that is translated too quickly may cause harm if its findings are incorrect; 2) there is little editorial oversight of online material; and 3) eminent online individuals may develop an outsized influence on clinical practice. We propose that new types of scholars are emerging to moderate the changing landscape of knowledge translation: 1) critical clinicians who critically appraise research in the same way that lay reviewers critique restaurants; 2) translational teachers adept with these new technologies who will work with researchers to disseminate their findings effectively; and 3) interactive investigators who engage with clinicians to ensure that their findings resonate and are applied at the bedside. The development of these scholars could build on the promise of evidence-based medicine by enhancing the appraisal and translation of research in practice.

Encore aujourd’hui, il s’écoule un certain temps entre les découvertes et l’intégration des nouvelles connaissances dans la pratique clinique. L’arrivée du mouvement Free Open Access Meducation (FOAM) a bouleversé les communications entre les médecins d’urgence, en permettant aux praticiens d’interagir facilement avec des homologues de partout dans le monde pour discuter des derniers travaux de recherche et de ceux qui ont la plus forte incidence. Le mouvement FOAM peut certes combler des lacunes en matière d’application des connaissances, mais son utilisation soulève des préoccupations quant à son influence grandissante : 1) l’application trop rapide des résultats de la recherche peut s’avérer préjudiciable si les constatations sont erronées; 2) la documentation en ligne échappe en grande partie à la supervision rédactionnelle; 3) des personnes de renom en ligne peuvent finir par exercer une influence trop grande en pratique clinique. Aussi les auteurs de l’article proposent-ils que de nouveaux types d’érudits voient le jour afin de régler le monde en mutation de l’application des connaissances. Ainsi, les cliniciens critiques feraient l’évaluation critique de la recherche à la manière des critiques profanes de restaurants; les formateurs en application des connaissances, versés dans le domaine des nouvelles techniques, travailleraient en collaboration avec les chercheurs à la diffusion efficace des résultats de leurs travaux; et les chercheurs interactifs s’engageraient dans des échanges avec les cliniciens afin de s’assurer que leurs résultats trouvent bel et bien écho dans la pratique clinique. La formation de ces groupes d’érudits pourrait prendre appui sur les grands principes, pleins de promesse, de la médecine factuelle, en permettant d’améliorer l’évaluation des travaux de recherche et leur application en pratique clinique.

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Copyright
Corresponding author
Correspondence to: Dr. Teresa Chan, Room 255, McMaster Clinics, 237 Barton St. E., Hamilton, ON L8L 2X2; Email: teresa.chan@medportal.ca
References
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Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine
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