Podcasts in Emergency Medicine and Medical Education

Podcasts have become increasingly popular in medicine over the past 5 years and I would argue that emergency medicine has really been influential in pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. Some of the most well known EM educators have become internationally renowned based on their podcasts. The concept is easy, sit down and record interviews/thoughts/critiques and then disseminate it. However, the practical reality is that the amount of work required is considerable to have a well designed, thoughtful and carefully edited podcast. For me, podcasts add an additional learning method, that allows me to be free from flipping through pages or sitting in front of a screen and over the past 3-4 years I’ve spent a good deal of time listening to EM podcasts. As a result, I wanted to share some of the better podcasts out there with those of you looking to incorporating podcasts into your continuing medical education. This list was compiled with a resident colleague of mine, Max Ben-Yakov. So thanks to Max for putting this together.

Most of these podcasts are by EM physicians around the world who have a passion for education. They go to great lengths to interview leaders in the medical field, read new articles and share their knowledge. However, there’s a growing trend among medical journals to incorporate a monthly podcast which I think is fantastic! These podcasts come in a variety of forms and I’ll include mention of two here in this list. Annals of Emergency Medicine has an excellent monthly summary of all it’s journal articles – this is done by Drs. David Newman & Ashley Shreves (both from NY, USA). They provide an outstanding summary of each article and best of all, its FREE!!! I strongly support any methods to disseminate free medical education and I think the Journal should be commended.

Another journal, Medical Education, has taken an interesting approach which also should be commended. The editor (Dr. Kevin Eva) conducts a conversation with a selected author(s) from a paper published each month. It’s fascinating to listen to the authors take on their own research, why they did the research and what were some of the issues. We learn more about the research then can be conveyed in any published article. This is similar to what you might get at a conference but in a more question and answer format. These podcasts provide an easily accessible (and free) method of disseminating important medical research. As technology becomes increasingly integrated into our lives and culture, we should look for ways to embrace it and make it work for us. I think these journal podcasts do just that.

Just for transparency, I have no conflicts of interest to declare with any of these podcasts. I’m certainly not paid by any of these podcasts (though willing to take money if they want to give me some!) I have published an article in Medical Education but have also been rejected from them too!

Now here’s a list of some of my favorites and ones that I’ve come across. The list isn’t comprehensive and I welcome any feedback or necessary additions.

EM:RAP: Emergency Medicine: Reviews And Perspectives. A monthly audio series for emergency medical practitioners. Born in September 2001, it now is heard by up to 8000 subscribers every month and it is the fastest growing audio publication in Emergency Medicine.

EM:RAP presents the best speakers from across North America, brining lectures from many prestigious Emergency Medicine meetings, all in a tightly edited audio format. Emphasis is added through the lectures by our internationally acclaimed hosts Mel Herbert and Stuart Swadron. It is available with an EMRA subscription.  It is THE most popular podcasts out there – highly recommended.  Some listeners complain that the jokes are immature and there’s occasionally too much banter… I think it just emphasizes why we’re not internists and we know how to have fun. Duration: 1-2 hours. Cost: $50/year for residents or FREE with EMRA subscription.

EMCrit Scott Weingart is an EM physician in NY City who has a serious interest in critical care medicine. He puts together an outstanding podcast that is a must listen for anyone that ever takes care of sick patients. The podcasts are usually 20-30 minutes and he’ll focus on one topic. These range from recent literature, new approaches to old problems or pretty much anything else that’s relevant to critical care in the ED. He has a great website with lots of additional info and often summaries of podcast. Best of all, his podcast is FREE!!!

ERCast Rob Orman is an EM physician on the west coast of the US. He focuses on a different topic each week or month. This is aimed at the everyday EM doctor, and he provides practical insight and advice about how you can be a better clinician.  There are tons of commonsense nuggets of wisdom along with interesting interviews of EM physicians or specialists (e.g. a month ago he interviewed an orthopod about distal radius fractures…). Also FREE!! Check it out.

Emergency Medicine Cases. From my hometown, Toronto, Canada, big shout out to fellow Canadian, Dr. Anton Helman who put together this one. He interviews some of the EM physicians from our neck of the woods about a range of different topics. From his website…“Emergency Medicine Cases (EMC) is Canada’s premier educational website dedicated to keeping staff physicians and emergency medicine residents up to date on the most current topics in emergency medicine. In ten episodes each year we present cases to two of Canada’s leading experts in emergency medicine, and discuss clinical pearls, important management issues and current clinical literature around the cases. We highlight key practical learning points that you can use in your every day practice.

SMART EM. A highly polished podcast from NYC – brought to you by Drs. David Newman and Ashley Shreves. This is the podcast for those who feel that everything you’ve been taught is a lie… and probably isn’t supported by evidence. The authors take “deep dives” into the literature and discuss controversial topics faced by Emergency Medicine while doing an amazing job of doing an exhaustive review. It is a bit on the longer side, but holy shit, if you want a comprehensive review of the literature, then this is what you should listen to.

empem.org. I probably don’t listen to enough peds EM stuff, but I really should. This is a great one from south of the equator (Australia), not too far from where I’m currently sitting as I right this in NZ. Definitely worthwhile checking out.

Free Emergency Medicine Talks: www.freemergencytalks.net. A collection of over 500,000 talks on everything that is emergency medicine from conferences and lectures around the world. This is an excellent resource if you’re looking for a particular topic (e.g. resource for upcoming rounds). It’s put together by a world class educator and emergency physician, Dr. Joe Lex from Temple University, Philadelphia.

Peds Emerg Podcast: http://www.pemed.org/. This one is relatively new, haven’t listened to it enough, but seems quite good and its peds! And sick kids can be scary – so more knowledge is better!

Traumacast. For those of us who are passionate about trauma and taking care of these patients. This is a collection of interviews addressing upcoming research and how it can be applied to the injured patient. This is brought to by EAST (a very influential group of trauma surgeons in the US) who publish many guidelines that we implement in trauma care.

Toxtalk. I think this is a relatively new one and I actually have only heard one episode but its a well done podcast from the tox program at UMass.  http://toxtalk.org/

Finally, from a medical education perspective, ICRE (International Conference for Residency Education) now disseminates podcasts from their conferences which is a great idea. Some fascinating discussions about all that is medical education! I think this a great way to distribute learning to all those who weren’t able to make it!

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