Blogging about Blogs, Part 2: St. Emlyn’s

This is the 2nd in a 6 part series:“Blogging about blogs”, edited by Anthony Llewellyn (hetimeddir) and Teresa Chan (@TChanMD). Click on the following link to see the first post on: Life in the Fast Lane.

An interview by Anthony Llewellyn with Simon Carley of St.Emlyn’s Blog and Podcasts

St. Emlyn’s is a blog (and podcast) that shares useful and interesting emergency and critical care information. Although it is UK-based, St. Emlyn’s has a global audience.


Q: When did you start your blog?

A:  June 2012 after meeting Mike Cadogan at ICEM.

Q: How many people are involved?

A:  We have a core of 6 people, a wider group of another 6, so about 12 in total.  Details here.  We also have the occasional guest blogger and of course a range of people join us on the podcast.

Q: How would you describe your audience?

A: An international audience of clinicians involved in emergency and critical care, from students to professors. They are keen to learn and to look at the evidence for what they do now and also what they might learn in the future.

Q: Are you able to give us some stats on how many people access your site per month and for what purpose?

A: Yes we have that data but we don’t share stats as there are too many people trying to turn #FOAMed into a league table or popularity contest. Suffice to say we have many views on the site and the traffic is increasing year on year. We are very happy with the size of our audience but that’s less important than providing a quality product (i.e. not everyone drives Aston Martins but they are nice).

Q: Can you describe your process for generating content?

A: We publish across several themes.  These include: a journal club / critical appraisal looking at papers that arise from regular searches on medline; local topics of interest; topical subjects relevant to UK emergency medicine; surveys of local trainees for topics; and material to support presentations and local teaching given by our editorial board.

Our overarching theme is that we blog on stuff that we find interesting in the hope and expectation that others will find it interesting too.

Q: What’s your technology stack (i.e. how do you host your site, how do you code it, do you have a CMS, do you use any integrations e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google etc…?)

A: The blog is hosted on synthesis.  It’s a WordPress blog.  Our podcast is hosted on podbean. Our blog links to Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, tumblr with auto posts in other social media platforms. We also have Vimeo accounts.

Q: What’s one interesting thing you have learnt through the process of developing a meded blog / website?

A: There’s too much to single out one thing. We are radically different educators, researchers, clinicians and students as a result of the blog and podcast.

Q: Have you considered the possibility that patients might use the blog for medical advice?  How do you handle this?

A: In the same way as I would manage a textbook chapter or a journal article. Of course patients can have access to information. They should then discuss it with their healthcare provider. If we are contacted directly for advice (it does happen) we only advise them to go back to their regular clinician.