Podcasts Are Playing More than a Catchy Tune

Physician's Money Digest, April 2007, Volume 14, Issue 4

Staying abreast of the technology curve is an endless battle for physicians. Almost every aspect of their practice can be "upgraded" with some form of new technological advancement, some of which are worth pursuing, and others, that are neither beneficial nor applicable to them. But one particular trend can enhance the efficiency and marketability of a doctor's office, and it isn't nearly as complicated—or expensive—as most of the devices hogging the technology headlines: podcasting.

Create Additional Resources

While podcasts are often associated with music, instructional podcasts are a growing trend that can now be specifically used to benefit a practice. For example, the New England Journal of Medicine and the Mayo Clinic offer podcasts on their Web sites as an additional tool to provide health care information for patients.

According to a recent article in Physicians Practice journal, physicians can also enhance their practice by utilizing this recent technology to complement their practice's Web site, by linking selected programs to the site, or creating their own podcasts. Adding content to a physician's Web site can offer patients extra instructional guidance in today's time-constrained office visits. The article recommends the physician makes a list of the most common questions their patients ask and create podcasts on those topics.

Market Your Practice

Offering free podcasts for both patients and nonpatients can provide a physician's practice with a marketing advantage. For example, one group of patients that could strongly benefit from such a Web site supplement is new parents. Creating podcasts can offer them instruction on how to care for newborns and common illnesses. Another option is creating a tool presenting healthy approaches to dieting and exercise for today's increasingly overweight population. These examples and many more can give physicians an edge over competitors.

Of course, many patients may not be Internet savvy enough to access and download a podcast, but the article recommends that if physicians are serious about incorporating this method of information delivery into their Web site, they should put together a brief brochure that takes their patients through the process.

Stay a Step Ahead

Learning how to create your own podcasts is fairly simple; the minimum requirements are a USB headset microphone, podcasting software, which can oftentimes be found free online, and a place to store and share the podcast on the Internet. You can search online for tutorials that will guide you through the step-by-step process.

Directing your patients to podcasts on your Web site and linking podcasts from other respected medical organizations onto your site can be a valuable tool to educate patients and a practical strategy to enhance the growth of your practice.