Podcasts Help Providers Stay Current

More than just a source of free entertainment, podcasts are poised to become a leading form of education for health care providers and treatment teams. Although currently less than 20 percent of Americans regularly listen to podcasts, data from the Pew Research Center indicate that online broadcasting is steadily increasing its audience.

What they are. Podcasts are audio shows that are hosted online that can be downloaded or streamed—essentially pre-recorded radio shows that you can listen to whenever it’s convenient for you. Although some podcasts also have video, and a few podcasts are limited to paid subscribers, most professional podcasts follow the financial model of providing free downloads and streaming along with brief advertising to cover their overhead.

How to listen. Listeners can either stream or download episodes from the hosts’ websites, or search and subscribe to podcasts using iTunes, Stitcher, SoundCloud or a mobile app. Subscribing using a mobile device allows your phone or tablet to automatically pull new episodes when they deploy. Since there are thousands of excellent podcasts available, you can always carry a cache of free entertainment and information.

Why would I want to listen to people just… talk? Podcasts provide a meaningful source of news, information, interviews and entertainment. For me, they ease the pain of commuting and folding laundry. Also, they exist for nearly any topic (Really! I challenge you to find an area of interest not covered by a podcast). An additional benefit is that podcasts often have a social media component such as listener and creator conversations on Twitter and Facebook.

Podcasts for health care teams. Because podcasts are produced quickly and inexpensively, they are an ideal method of knowledge translation to help keep health care teams up-to-date with the latest research and best practices. A short podcast developed by experts in a field can help your team learn new skills and concepts efficiently and in an engaging manner.

The best podcasts have relatable hosts who are experts in their field but can discuss the topic as though they were speaking to a friend. Consider starting with TEDTalks Health, NPR’s The Body Show, or the Nature Medicine Podcast. If you’re interested in the history of medicine and health care, you can’t go wrong with Sawbones.

Now, a question for you. We’re considering starting a T2 Health podcast focusing on issues and development in mobile health information technology. Let us know if this modality is the next step to help you and your team keep up-to-date with technology to serve DoD beneficiaries. If so, what kind of topics and interviews would interest you?

Julie T. Kinn, Ph.D. is a research psychologist at DHA Connected Health.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the National Center for Telehealth & Technology, the Defense Centers of Excellence for Psychological Health & Traumatic Brain Injury, the Department of Defense, or the U.S. Government.


Read other posts by Dr. Julie Kinn