Podcasting - A health persepective
I’ve been interested in podcasting now for some time, I even have my own which I co-host with Michael Campbell, a colleague. Click here to visit
Of interest to me is whether or not we can utilise podcasting in the health sector. I’ve read quite a few blogs on this subject and the one thing that comes across, quite clearly, is that the focus is on the health professional and how they would use it. Often, I read that there might be some use for it in terms of delivering lectures or utilising the technology to voice opinions on various topics. There is no doubt great potential and use for this form but the one thing that seems to be missed, time and again is that podcasting has great benefits for patients, clients, the community.
I work in health and I don’t mean to be rude or offend anyone here but why is that we focus so much on how we might benefit. I mean, aren’t most of us in health to help others? So why is it then that when we discuss the potential of utilising new technology, we often look at how we, as health professionals will adopt and adapt it to benefit us?
So let’s think about what types of initiatives that would work well in podcasting terms. Let’s take for instance childhood obesity. We know that generally, children are far more aware and comfortable using technology. In fact, many expect services to be available online. Kids see their mobiles as an extension of their hand. I often see them walking, talking, even skate-boarding and texting at the same time, a skill I am yet to acquire. Of course, some kids that are suffering from childhood obesity are probably not doing any or little exercise but they still know how to use technology. Why not develop a podcast that helps motivate the kids to excercise. Develop a programme that encourages kids, interview style, to discuss how they feel about their own experiences with obesity and talk about how they work towards motivating themselves to keep active.
In terms of chronic disease, providing cancer patients with access to interviews, group session discussions or the process for various forms of treatments can do a great deal to empower patients. It would also make them feel that they have as much information and support possible to help them through the process.
Mental Health is also another area which has huge potential to utilise technology. I could go on and on about these areas but it really is just massive and I’m sure that most of you will already be thinking about how you can use podcasting for your patients and community. The great thing is that hopsitals, outpatient facilities, non government organisations (NGO’s), population health, community health and so on and all benefit by delivering targeted podcasts to various sections of the public.
All too often the focus is on internal education of health professionals. There is no reason why we can’t be delivering solutions to the community. Of course, having great ideas for podcasts and actually finding time to deliver them can be very challenging. In Australia, we have some wonderful Health Promotion professionals that work in various Health Departments in each state. I am fortunate enough to have several that I can rely on to help me source content and find health professionals willing and able to contribute to podcasts. We also utilise our community nurses who have a wealth of knowledge and many are very willing to record sessions whilst working with various community groups. Many of you may have access to resources that you aren’t aware of, they can be referred to as population health, health promotion, community health, the list goes on, but you may find a great untapped resource. Also, speak with your Information Technology Department, they may be able and willing to help you. If all else fails, take some time off and get podcasting, only joking, I know you are all busy people!
Now that we have video capabilities, like the ipod video, we can do even more amazing things that can quite often be easier to produce that podcasts as it’s a case of setting up a camera and recording it. Again, I am doing this in my work and for a couple of hours work, the results have been amazing, not to mention the fact that we have received much publicity. This all helps to encourage the community to use your resource and contribute.
I can only hope that in the coming years, more health agencies and professionals start to really think long and hard about establishing programmes that really do aim to help educate and empower people to take ownership of their health, thus helping to reduce that ever increasing burden on health we all hear so much about.