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J Educ Health Promot. 2018 Mar 1;7:32. doi: 10.4103/jehp.jehp_84_17. eCollection 2018.

#FOAMems: Engaging paramedics with free, online open-access education.

Mason P1,2, Batt AM1,3,4.

Author information

Fanshawe College, London.
Ottawa Paramedic Service, Ontario, Canada.
Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.
CQUniversity, Queensland, Australia.



Twitter® use among paramedics and other prehospital care clinicians is on the rise and is increasingly being used as a platform for continuing education and international collaboration. In 2014, the hashtag #FOAMems was registered. It is used for the sharing of emergency medical services, paramedicine, and prehospital care-related content. It is a component of the 'free open-access meducation' (FOAM) movement. The aim of this study was to characterize and evaluate the content of #FOAMems tweets since registration.


An analytical report for #FOAMems was generated on from February 4, 2014, to April 30, 2017. A transcript of all #FOAMems tweets for a randomly selected 1 month period (October 2015) was generated, and quantitative content analysis was performed by two reviewers. Tweets were categorized according to source (original tweet/retweet) and whether referenced. The top 92 tweeters were analyzed for professional identity.


During the study period, there were over 99,000 tweets containing #FOAMems, by over 9,200 participants. These resulted in almost 144 million impressions. Of the top 92 tweeters, 50 were paramedics (54%). Tweets were mainly related to cardiac (23%), leadership (19%), and trauma (14%). The 1-month period resulted in 649 original tweets, with 2110 retweets; 1070 of these were referenced.


Paramedics are engaging with both clinical and nonclinical content on Twitter® using #FOAMems. Social media resources are widely shared, which is in line with the FOAM movement's philosophy. However, opportunities exist for paramedics to share further diverse resources supported by referenced material.


Education; online; paramedic; social media; twitter

Conflict of interest statement

AB registered the FOAMems hashtag. This work was not supported or funded by any drug company. Each author of this paper has completed the ICMJE conflict of interest statement.

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