Radiologists tune into podcasting

June 29, 2007

Physicians in general, and radiologists in particular, have begun to tune into the novel Internet-based medium of podcasting.

Physicians in general, and radiologists in particular, have begun to tune into the novel Internet-based medium of podcasting.A January paper describes how the Society of Critical Care Medicine implemented the first podcast of a national medical society (J Am Med Inform Assn 2007;14(1):94-99).A podcast is an audio recording posted online in the form of an MP3 file. Podcasts can be thought of as short radio shows. When users subscribe to podcasts, content is automatically downloaded to the user's computer or portable media player as new content becomes available. "It is this simplicity that leads to the true power of podcasting, which is really a series of time-shifted radio shows that can be heard whenever or wherever is most convenient for the user," said lead author Dr. Richard H. Savel, a critical care physician at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn.User-friendliness contributes to its success. In the first seven months after its 2005 implementation, the Society's iCritical Care Podcast had over 68,000 hits. The Savel paper describes how the system was designed and implemented. Savel said an operation like his can be established for far less than $1000. He spent extra on sound equipment so his podcasts carry the professional quality of National Public Radio. The content of the podcasts themselves are educational and news in nature. All that is required to listen is iTunes, free from Apple (http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/). The Savel paper follows a 2006 radiology paper (AJR 2006;186:1792-1796) in which researchers at Johns Hopkins University report the advantages of audio podcasting in a hospital radiology setting, despite the fact that radiology is generally thought of as image-based. This Hopkins work is believed to be the first discussion of the role of podcasting in radiology education in the literature."Some information essential to the practice of radiology does not require the review of images," said Dr. Melissa M. Rowell of the Hopkins radiology department. Rowell said non-image-based topics include state-of-the-art information about CT scanners, acquisition protocols, and postprocessing of data sets."Dissemination of this type of information is well suited for podcasting," she said. Rowell said podcasts can be created and published quickly, at little or no cost, once initial hardware and software are available. The principal advantage of podcasts themselves is that files can be reviewed anywhere on a portable device, such as while commuting or exercising.

Current JHU lectures are available:

  • 64-slice CT
  • IV contrast administration
  • coronary CT angiography
  • virtual colonoscopy
  • pancreatic imaging

JHU adds a new podcast weekly. A list of other medical podcasts is available.