Orthopaedic Surgery Subspecialty Podcast Effectively Disseminates Peer-reviewed Articles Relative to Traditional Online Publishing

Ambika E. Paulson, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
Rutledge Carter Clement, LSU Health Sciences Center - New Orleans
Joshua B. Holt, University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, Iowa City, IA
Julia S. Sanders, Children's Hospital Colorado, Aurora, CO
Craig R. Louer, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN


BACKGROUND: Podcasts have become increasingly utilized in medical education over the past decade, especially in orthopaedic surgery. Compared with more traditional learning tools, podcasts are easily accessible, free, and capable of use while multitasking. Despite these apparent benefits, the effectiveness of podcasts as a dissemination tool for emerging peer-reviewed literature is not well understood. The Peds Ortho Podcast is the official podcast of Pediatric Orthopedic Society of North America that highlights recently published peer-reviewed articles through author interviews and executive summaries of featured articles. The purpose of this study was to compare the distribution of the Peds Ortho Podcast to traditional media by comparing electronic access statistics between the podcast episodes and the journal articles they summarize. METHODS: Podcast episodes were reviewed to catalog the abstracts and articles discussed therein. Because podcasts and articles utilize different electronic metrics to track distribution, we established a common metric of an "access," which we defined as an "intent to consume the media." For articles, we defined an "access" as the largest value of a publisher's online metrics, be it abstract views, full text views, or article downloads. For podcast episodes, we defined an "access" as any play >0 seconds. Access data were analyzed using independent samples t test and analyses of variance. RESULTS: Eighty episodes of the Peds Ortho Podcast have featured 333 published, peer-reviewed articles to date, with 303 included in the final analysis with available article metrics. There were significantly more mean electronic accesses per podcast episode than featured articles (1236 vs. 482, P <0.001). Podcast consumption greatly varies in the first 30 days following episode release; however, recent episodes have a substantial proportion of accesses soon after publication. CONCLUSIONS: Given that podcast electronic access is greater than traditional media, podcasts appear to be a valuable tool for health care providers and trainees. Podcasts serve a complementary role to traditional media by quickly disseminating main points and raising awareness of emerging research.