Tuning in to health care with the podcast boom

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Photo: Matthew Keefe via Flickr

Podcasts are all the rage, so we’ve been collecting some health policy-related ones for you. Some of these regularly tackle health policy, some dip into it once in a while (but smartly) and others are geared more toward science and medicine.

Some of you who contributed suggestions noted that a few popular general podcasts (such as On Media and Fresh Air) aren’t health-focused but sometimes have good episodes, respectively, on media coverage and interviews with authors of health books. Keep sending suggestions (Joanne@healthjournalism.org) and we can add to this list, but here’s a start:

  • Institute for Healthcare Improvement: The IHI produces an online show that you can listen to on their website or the usual podcast software. It focuses on quality and patient safety, but it also takes on issues like opioid addiction and shared decision-making. Its point person, Madge Kaplan, is a former health journalist and is IHI’s very knowledgeable communication director.
  • Health Affairs: The health policy journal has podcasts of its events, of short (only few minutes long) conversations with local radio, and episodes based on their Narrative Matters series. Here is the menu for all of the journal’s audio.
  • This Week in Health Law: This show takes on a broad range of policy of interest to those of you covering both state and national policy with particular focus on courts and legal issues. I confess I haven’t listened to this particular episode but I did like the title: Zombie Catholic Hospitals (about court challenges surrounding contraceptive coverage).
  • Politico: With my conflict, bias and cheerleading propensities thoroughly noted –host Dan Diamond is on my staff at Politico – Politico’s Pulse Check is a weekly podcast on health policy, (including MACRA and Medicare), the ACA, health IT, and public health.
  • National Public Radio: NPR and its affiliates have a whole bunch of health podcasts as well as science and medicine podcasts with some AHCJ members particularly liking Only Human. For an example of how one affiliate tracks health topics on the state level, check out Rhode Island Public Radio’s podcast.
  • Vox: The hosts of “The Weeds” take on a number of social policy and related politics. That includes fair amount on health care, mostly hosted by Sarah Kliff.
  • Aspen Institute: The institute offers a wonderful podcast series drawing on its health-heavy Ideas festivals and related events. The topics aren’t all health and science, but you can scroll through and easily find the relevant ones.
  • FiveThirtyEight: Kitchen Table Politics, via FiveThirtyEight’s elections podcast feed, isn’t a health reform-focused podcast, but host Farai Chideya has touched on health cost and quality, so keep an eye on it. A recent health episode looked at cost and quality, with “real peoplehose” voices. Fivethirtyeight itself produces a regular podcast that doesn’t do a lot of health policy per se but it does address science and public health.

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