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#FOAMed errors: does the opportunity for speedy resolution outweigh the risk of rapid dissemination?
  1. Simon Carley, Associate Editor1,2
  1. 1 Emergency Medicine, Central Manchester and Manchester Children’s University Hospitals NHS Trust, Manchester, UK
  2. 2 Emergency Medicine, Manchester Metropolitan University, All Saints Campus, Manchester, UK
  1. Correspondence to Prof. Simon Carley, Emergency Medicine, Manchester Metropolitan University - All Saints Campus, Manchester M15 6BH, UK; arleys{at}me.com

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Edwards and Roland report an interesting natural experiment in the role of knowledge dissemination in the era of social media and free open access medical education (#FOAMed).1 In the opinion of many emergency medicine educationalists, #FOAMed resources are challenging and changing our traditional models of sharing knowledge through publications such as the EMJ.2

The paper reports on two inadvertent publication errors on a UK #FOAMed blog. These were rapidly disseminated through social media to thousands of recipients in a very short space of time. Although the errors were unlikely to result in significant patient harm, the implication is that potentially harmful information might be inadvertently disseminated across a wide audience and with little control from the authors. In other words, the oft-stated advantages of online publication, those of speed, amplification and reach, are also factors that might disseminate incorrect or even harmful content to a much wider audience than traditional …

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