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Staying engaged with medicine via podcast

headphones-1854090_1920One of the challenges I've faced in business school has been how to stay engaged with medicine while working in a different environment. I've found several ways to remain connected, but my favorite has been podcasts. I've listened to dozens of medical podcasts over the past few months and have found them to be a remarkable source of information and inspiration. A few that I particularly enjoy:

1. Primary Care Today

Hosted by Brian McDonough, MD, Primary Care Today is a series of interviews with experts across the spectrum of medical practice. It covers clinical topics (ranging from common eye conditions to GERD to shoulder injuries) as well as pertinent issues in public health, policy, and big ideas in health care. For example, one recent episode was about a former NFL player's efforts to reduce concussions while another explored pharmaceutical research. The episodes are quick (~15 min), interesting, and easy to follow.

2. American Family Physician Podcast

This podcast summarizes key takeaways from the journal American Family Physician on practice guidelines and the latest evidence on common medical conditions. It's hosted by residents at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, Phoenix who keep the episodes lighthearted and engaging. Many podcasts cover medical content and journal articles in more detail but this one is accessible and concisely reviews practical knowledge. I've also found it to be a useful source of factoids to answer business school classmates' questions about health issues.

3. New Directions in Health Care

This is a Commonwealth Fund podcast on issues in health-care management and policy (the perfect podcast for people interested in delivery system reform). It identifies challenges faced by the health-care system and analyzes proposed solutions. Best of all, it profiles dozens of companies and policies from around the world that have successfully improved patient care. It's highly motivating to hear about how creative approaches can address seemingly intractable problems. And with episodes that are each less than 10 minutes, the inspiration comes in bite-sized packages.

4. Non-medical podcasts

Some of the best health and medicine episodes are on non-medical shows. For example, the popular Freakonomics podcast periodically features medical topics, including a recent three-part series on problems in health care and a provocative episode on end of life care. Andreessen Horowitz's a16z podcast frequently includes medical content as well and draws prominent guests from the field (including Stanford's Russ Altman, MD, PhD).

I've been amazed by the depth and breadth of medical content available through podcasts. I've enjoyed listening and hope you do, too!

Stanford Medicine Unplugged is a forum for students to chronicle their experiences in medical school. The student-penned entries appear on Scope once a week; the entire blog series can be found in the Stanford Medicine Unplugged category

Akhilesh Pathipati is a fourth-year MD/MBA student at Stanford. He is interested in issues in health care delivery.

Photo by StanfordMedicineStaff

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