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The Current State Of Podcasting In Healthcare
Hans Oh, PhD recently published an interesting post on the current state of podcasting in healthcare on his Weblog, the eHealth Blog.  In his post, he revisited an analysis he conducted in 2005 on the state of podcasting in healthcare.  In that article he observed: “[P]odcasting may not find a significant role in health care - at least none that I can see at this point in time.”  

He went on to list a few reasons why podcasting is not optimal for healthcare, including the fact that it takes time to listen to them and that many may prefer to read rather than listen to healthcare-related information.

Today, Oh’s opinion of podcasting is more positive.  He thinks that there is a role for podcasting in healthcare, but that it may not be for everyone.  

What Will It Take For Podcasting To Be Embraced By Healthcare Consumers?

On its face it is difficult to understand why consumers have not embraced podcasting.  With consumer-driven healthcare taking off, podcasts could quickly become an invaluable source of candid and unbiased commentary from medical professionals and citizen medical experts.  

Although, podcasts have tremendous potential value, it is clear that the technology has a long way to go before it is widely accepted.  Most importantly, podcasting must become:

-Less Intimidating:  Although it is not difficult to develop a podcast, people may be intimidated by the technology and the time commitment it takes to develop a high-quality podcast.  Right now, people have the perception that it is much easier to join an online forum (bulletin board) or start a blog than to develop a podcast.   

-Easier To Locate:  Many people find healthcare-related information via Internet searches where blog and bulletin board content is highly ranked (see this post for more on healthcare online search and consumer-generated content).  It is much harder to locate podcast content unless you download Apple’s iTunes software or use a specialized search engine like Podscope or Podcast Alley.  People will be less likely to embrace a technology if they do not find it useful or relevant to their needs.  

Podcasting May Be More Attractive To Providers, Communicators  

According to Oh, currently healthcare providers and institutions develop and use the majority of podcasts.  This makes sense because podcasts are a great way to transmit medical knowledge.  In addition, providers are used to listening to lectures produced on CDs or audiotapes for CME (continuing medical education) purposes.  

Podcasting is also an ideal technology for healthcare communicators.  They could integrate podcasts into health communication or promotion campaigns to educate on disease prevention and treatment.  (GE is using podcasts to help publicize its new healthcare brand: Healthcare Re-imagined.")  Podcasts could be especially valuable in the area of mental health as they could help reduce the stigma associated with psychiatric conditions.  

Learn More About Podcasting In Healthcare

It will be interesting to see whether podcasts increase in popularity in healthcare communications, education and promotion over the next year.  To learn more about the current state of podcasting in healthcare, click on the links below. 

-Early Adopters of Podcasting Among Hospitals - Unsolicited Marketing Advice
-Podcasting for the Pharmaceutical & Biotech Industries (Free White Paper,  Registration Required)
-Podcasts - Medical Information & Searching - Google Scholar Blog
-Top Five (5) Podcast Websites in Medicine - Google Scholar Blog
-Podcasting and Healthcare Education - A podcast on this subject by Margaret Maag
-Podcasting for Social Marketing - Spare Change

2 Comments/Trackbacks

Hi Fard,
Take a look at my blog post about using podcasting for social marketing on health issues that has some additional ideas for how the technology could be used:


Thanks for visiting my post re: podcasting and for commenting. Your post is very informative and its great to see institutions embracing this technology. It will be interesting to see whether and how this technology becomes more widespread.

I'll add your post to my list of podcasting resources.


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