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Why Hospitals Should Invest in Healthcare Podcasting to Strengthen Patient and Caregiver Relationships

Why Hospitals Should Invest in Healthcare Podcasting to Strengthen Patient and Caregiver Relationships

Over the past 18 months, marketing professionals at our hospital clients have been massively pre-occupied with COVID-related operational challenges. Once the most pressing of these issues are addressed, they are returning, exhausted and overwhelmed, to a dizzying array of digital technology options. The more progressive marketers are pursuing healthcare podcasting as an avenue to effectively impart patient care information to both consumers and providers.

Why would a hospital invest scarce marketing and communications resources in healthcare podcasts?

First of all, Podcasting is easily one of the fastest growing marketing and branding vehicles. Consider the volume of recent studies commissioned - both within the healthcare industry and in the larger marketing community:

  • A Digital Insights survey found that 75% of healthcare professionals used their smartphones to listen to podcasts. 36% of the healthcare professionals polled had listened to a podcast in the past 30 days.
  • Looking at this from the perspective of patients, 26% of podcast listeners show interest in health-related podcasts (Nielsen Scarborough).
  • Share of Ear® is an audio listening diary survey that tracks all the different types of audio people listen to during a 24-hour period. Its latest update shows 27.4% of 18- to 34-year-olds now listen to podcasts on a daily basis, up 43% from 2019. And listenership is up 51% among 25 to 54-year-olds.

What is driving this growth? Relative to other marketing vehicles, podcasting stacks up nicely as one of the most effective ways of communicating patient care and other healthcare-related information comprehensively. Podcasting engages listeners over a long period in a “single sitting”, cutting through the crowded environment of short-exposure communication tools.  

Furthermore, podcasting has vast potential as a brand-builder and vehicle for creating long-term patient intimacy. In a healthcare environment, podcasting is particularly effective in reaching a diverse audience, as podcasts can easily be special purposed for underserved constituencies. These include Black and Latino communities, as well as LEP (Limited English Proficient) audiences, that could be reached in languages other than English. For example, according to Edison Research, 36% of U.S. Latinos age 18+ (16 million people) have listened to a podcast in the last month, which is a 44% increase over 2020. A good number of those are Spanish podcasts.

Examples of healthcare podcasts of particular interest to hospitals

I listened to a number of healthcare podcasts, both branded podcasts created or sponsored by hospitals and those speaking to healthcare generally that could spark ideas and topics for hospitals. Turns out that over half of the podcast episodes I found were focused on topics other than patient care: medical information for practitioners, healthcare policy, and even diversity and social justice. Here are a few that stood out. Click on the titles to listen:

Provider focused

  • Studies in Empathy, Cleveland Clinic: This unique series is hosted by the organization’s Chief Experience Officer, Adrienne Boissy. It takes on the concept of empathy in the patient experience. While the focus is on how to communicate with patients compassionately, the podcast also addresses how listen to and care for healthcare staff as they struggle with the challenges presented by COVID. Some real good storytelling here!

Patient focused

  • McLaren’s in Good Health, McLaren Healthcare (Michigan): I chose this branded podcast for the breadth of personal healthcare topics covered, including choosing a pediatrician, urinary continence, and emergency care. I learned that there is hope for my damaged shoulders, as apparently there are more surgical options that I had been led to believe!
  • Healthcare that CARES, Charlin Health (Dallas Forth Worth): This organization specializes in in-home healthcare, hospice, and personal care for the geriatric population. Topics in this branded podcast include Alzheimer’s care, physical therapy, and navigating the healthcare system. The tone of the podcast is informal, almost impromptu, but the style lends itself authenticity.

Policy focused

  • A Healthy Dose, Bessemer Ventures: Hosted by a pair of healthcare IT venture capitalists, Steve Kraus (Bessemer Venture Partners) and Trevor Price (Town Hall Ventures). The Episode guest list reads like a Who’s Who of healthcare policy movers and shakers, and the topics are far-ranging, from national COVID policy to pending healthcare legislation. Interesting to hospital administrators, but to patients and providers as well.
  • The Healthcare Policy Podcast (Washington DC): This healthcare policy podcast, hosted by healthcare policy consultant David Introcaso, combines policy analysis with political insights – and seeks objective and reasoned discussion free from “vested interests.” There’s a heavy emphasis on federal healthcare policy, but it also addresses private sector reforms, including access, reimbursement, and quality.

Diversity focused

  • Healthcare Untold (San Francisco): This one was really cool. Only about 1/3 of the episodes were devoted to healthcare per se. Rather, the focus was on the intersection of healthcare and diversity/social justice, including disability rights, housing advocacy, and restorative justice. They bill themselves as “dedicated to giving voice to everyday heroes and their untold health stories that can improve health to our most vulnerable communities.” Perfect for hospitals with a strong DEI mission and a passion for helping underserved groups.
  • Healthcare Insider, Modern Healthcare (online publication): This one regular features race and social justice themes, but exclusively on healthcare issues and the practical challenges faced by marginalized groups. Unlike the policy podcasts above that focus on federal legislation, the Episodes delve into specific policies and practices as experiences at the individual hospital level. For example, one episode is entitled: “Upcoding could explain why hospitals are increasingly billing for the most complex treatment”.

Half the battle in conceptualizing a podcast for a hospital is strategic messaging and targeting: What knowledge are you trying to convey, to whom, and what to end. In addition to providing this guidance, ModPod works with its clients to provide a full spectrum of services based on where they are in their podcast journey: from helping set up podcasting studio, equipment and tools, to podcast episode production and distribution services. 

We welcome you to visit our website at www.gomodpod.com, or reach out to us via our Contact form or at info@gomodpod.com. We have more examples and would be happy to do further research of additional healthcare-oriented podcasts if you would find it helpful.

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