You sipped the FOAM, but did you savour it?

You are at the forefront of medical education, reducing the translation gap from research to practice from years to weeks. You amaze your colleagues with the latest up to date evidence based practice, and enjoy sharing your experiences with like-minded people.

But can you prove you have been doing it?

In the current climate, proving the steps you have taken for professional development and CME is crucial to successful revalidation.  But who has time to accurately record each blog post or journal article you read?  You might be a #FOAMEd addict, and check your Twitter timeline at any time day or night, whilst walking the hospital corridor between cases, whilst rushing your lunch in the mess, or even whilst visiting the restroom (wash your phone); you discover something you want to record, both to refer back later and to show your appraiser you were learning something, but only have a scrappy piece of paper, or you have to switch apps to generate a note.  Do you want to save the URL, the title, the content itself?  Do you have time now?  Will you forget later???

Automate your system…

Have you heard of If This Then That (  If not, be ready for some impressive geekery.

ifttt links online services together

Consider this – a service which links your different online services to make them work together.  You want to update your Facebook status every time you Tweet?  It’s done.  You want to have your instagram pictures saved to your dropbox automatically?  No problem.  You want your “Liked Tweets” to be saved to Instapaper or Evernote?  Hmmmm, I think we can use that.

The goal…

What if when you “liked” a tweet, you know the little heart on the app:Twitter Heart

When you tap on the heart, it turns red, and the author gets a warm glow that you liked it.  You can make more happen.


Yes, that one, so, what if when you liked a tweet, some magic happened and the tweet, with its URL link to the article got saved in a list that you could print off, or turn into a PDF ready to upload it to your PDP or revalidation portfolio?

The how…

Start by signing up for IFTTT.  We are going to create a “recipe” for IF THIS happens, I want THAT to happen.

Also, decide which service you want to save your links to.  The simplest sort is a bookmarking service like Pocket or you might want to save a copy of the information on that website using a service like Instapaper.

Instapaper please?

OK.  Sign up for a free account at  Remember your log in details, you will need those again.

Go back to  Create a recipe, either click on your username in the top right, or search for the channels you need to connect together:

Instapaper Channel

and create a new recipe through one of those.

What you get is a recipe to fill in:


Click the “this”. Search through the channel list and select “Twitter”.  There are lots of potential triggers associated with Twitter, but you want the one that fires when you like a Tweet:

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.02.09

Then you get to click the “That”. Select Instapaper from the channel list.  There is only one action you can do with Instapaper, which is “Save the Item”.  Click that.

The next bit may look complex, but it just gives you a chance to customise what exactly you want saving.  The little flask icons give you a list of ingredients that come from the Tweet, or you can add in some free text that will stay the same each time.  The ingredient “FirstLinkURL” is the first link contained within the body of the tweet, so will usually be the link to the article or picture you read.  Make it look a bit like it does below.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.04.21

When you click Create Action you will get a summary of the recipe.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 11.04.43

If you are happy, click Create Recipe.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating…

Let’s say you are washing down half a cup of cold tea one of the nurses made for you an hour ago whilst scooting along your Twitter timeline and this article catching your eye.  You read the article, engrossed by its simple way of explaining intracranial pressure physiology.

Screen Shot 2016-05-13 at 14.49.27

Tap the heart, and hey presto! Your instapaper account has got this in it:

Instapaper article

Permanent record. All yours. Yay!


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