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Innovations in External Education Episode 01: The Power of the Podcast Format of Medical Education
This series of the Elevate Podcast illuminates the path scientific communication takes from teaching to diagnosis to treating all the way to changing, prolonging, and saving patient lives. External Education of a growing variety of stakeholders in healthcare by the Medical Affairs Division of Pharma and Medical Device industry reflects the critical role Education in Medicine plays in our Age of Information. The podcast features critical discussions with leading educators across healthcare from the various perspectives of pharma / biotech sponsors, program organizers, attendees, and patients with a quest to explore some of the most novel, intriguing formats of Medical Education, following their approaches to learning in our digital age as well as their current gaps or success stories. The goal of the podcast is to make medical education simpler to access, more relevant to apply across healthcare organizations, and more continuous to inspire innovation and quality.
This is a first of a series of episodes that examines the podcast as one of the most effective emerging channels and formats of education in medicine. Our host, Tim Mikhelashvili, PharmD, Co-Founder and CEO of Amedea Pharma and Chair of the Mentorship Program at the Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS) speaks with Shelby Englert, Vice President of Education at the American Urological Association to learn why podcasts are powerful from a Professional Medical Society’s perspective. Shelby explains why its organization started its AUA University podcast, now with 165 episodes and the role it has played in building and growing its community of urologists in the association. She also describes how the AUA University podcast is structured, how it has evolved over time, and shares personal suggestions for elements of education most valuable and relevant to an audience in a podcast, providing specific examples that demonstrate the direct impact of the podcast on patient and physician behaviors as well as health outcomes. Listen to this episode because it not only centers on the ultimate impact of podcasts on the quality of medical education, but also discusses all the “supporting players” and “accessories” to the podcast required such as channels, technology, and timing of podcast communication to make a podcast successful and valuable in healthcare.
Tim Mikhelashvili 00:00
Welcome to the Medical Affairs Professional Society’s innovations in external education Podcast Series. My name is Tim Mikhelashvili, I’m your host. I serve on the external education focus area working group, and chair of the mentorship program and also CEO and co founder of amateur pharma and analytics management consulting agency that helps life science organizations inspire and measure their performance and engagement. Our new podcast series illuminates the path of scientific communication from teaching to diagnosing to treating all the way to changing prolonging and saving patient lives. The goals of our podcast series are to make medical education simpler to access by everyone make it more relevant across different healthcare systems, and also more continuous to inspire innovation and quality. The growing number of stakeholders of external education across pharma and medical devices represents the important role that education and medicine plays in our age of information today. And so, we will feature critical discussions with some of the leading educators from various perspectives of pharma, biotech, professional medical organizations, organizers, attendees and patients as well in our quest to both follow and anticipate new approaches to learning in our digital age. So today before we get into our podcast, I want to share with you two reminders. First, the views expressed in this recording are those of the individuals and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of MAPS or the companies with which they’re affiliated. This podcast is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as legal or regulatory advice. We also encourage you to engage in conversations about external education with other MAPS members via MAPS Connect on the MAPS website or mobile app. You can log in to the website use your email address and password access the global community click on the discuss tab and scroll down to external education to post a question or review previous postings or podcasts such as this one here. In this first episode, today, we will discuss the power of the podcast in a professional medical organization. My special guests is Shelby Englert, Vice President of Education at the AUA American Neurological Association, has led the AUA University podcast, which was launched in 2016. And since then has offered over 250 Clinical episodes with an average of 2500 downloads in the first six months of release in less than a year, from June 2021 to May 2022, AUA podcasts were downloaded over 265,000 times. And so we’ll hear from her on the impact that her podcast has had on the quality and her community and her members. Welcome, Shelby. I’m so glad to have this conversation today with you.
Shelby Englert 03:03
Thanks, Tim. I’m excited to be here as well.
Tim Mikhelashvili 03:06
Yes, and from a former Medical Affairs Professional Society, to hearing from a professional medical society, I think that we will have lots of important insights to learn from you. I’d like to start with your personal opinion. I’m curious to know what what you think, is the ultimate impact of a podcast as an educational format for a professional medical society such as yours.
Shelby Englert 03:35
You know, we love the podcast because it really does a great it’s a great way to for dissemination. So many people think about live in person and there’s a time and a place for live in person. But sometimes depending on your your goal of the content, if it’s knowledge transfer versus skills transfer, a podcast really serves us well, where we can really deep dive into a topic area that’s best served as a discussion between two subject matter experts versus perhaps just a didactic presentation. So we like podcasts for how they address content and for obviously, its quick and easy reach to to 1000s of people.
Tim Mikhelashvili 04:22
Great and in terms of your AUA University podcasts, let’s get into some of the specifics and what really led you to start this podcast in the first place?
Shelby Englert 04:33
Well, I’m excited to say that I have a very innovative team around me and so the first thing of my success was I listened to a good idea. And 2016 our elearning manager Pat Curley brought this idea of forth to us for consideration to say we need to be getting into this area of podcasting. And so we listened to him and he put a team together and the first You know, was getting the technology, what platform will we we’re gonna be on? How are we going to develop content? How are we going to market it. And so we went through the steps of almost it as a test pilot, you know, so that we, we built content new when we took audio from existing courses, and we built a library, and it started gaining momentum. And that’s when you increase your subscriptions and, and the content generates from that point forward. And when we first launched, we were hoping, you know, happy to get one a month. Now we are one a week very consistently, and we have an audience that consumes our content.
Tim Mikhelashvili 05:42
Yes, and I’m very familiar with your organization, I spent time working in a neurological pharma company, and I was able to see firsthand just how unique and and close knit your community of urologists really is. In your association, you mentioned that this was a team effort. Right? So who were some of the other supporting players? In addition to the member in leadership? Were they some of the members as well, physicians, how were you able to get those case studies.
Shelby Englert 06:16
So we are structured so that we have a physician chair, who is pretty much my partner. And so the physician chair is our moderator for every weekly interview. And even if they have an expertise in one area of urology, we keep that consistent. And so we have that person leading the way we use, obviously, our educational needs assessments to help drive our content selection, and then we will choose a subject matter experts in the area in which we want to engage. So from a physician side, we have the moderator and the subject matter expert. Occasionally, we will invite two different physicians, if we have a debate topic that would lend itself to multiple points of views. But we don’t try to go more than that. We we do try to keep it to 2530 minutes. And so we want to focus specifically on one to two faculty or physicians as interviewees. So that’s our content development needs assessment, two subject matter experts. And then we have our technology group. And so management of the platform, editing, making sure that within our you know, opening messaging and closing messaging, if we want to cross promote other podcasts, or educational offerings, or patient education materials, all of that is built into our messaging at the beginning events. And then of course, marketing. You know, social media is a great way to disseminate podcast links, to make sure that you are using social media as a way to ensure that people know about it, because you know, podcasts once they’re in a feed get pushed, which is great. But then it’s also you can take snippets from that and post them on social media as well.
Tim Mikhelashvili 08:12
Were there some of you who were more familiar than others in terms of that technology? Or what are some specific tools that you would recommend for other societies starting a podcast, for example, in medical education?
Shelby Englert 08:27
You know, it’s it’s not, there’s a couple of different platforms that you can select from. And as an organization, we have two established podcasts, and we’re about to launch a third. And we have them on different platforms based on the source of the content and how we intend to use it. One of the things we do on our AUA University clinical podcast is, as I mentioned, we have interviews, but we also use that as a dissemination point of, say, a webinar, where we’ll have a 60 minute webinar, we will basically strip the audio and repurpose it to a one hour podcast. Some people don’t want 60 minutes, but a lot of people do, it’s still a great way to engage in a course, in the gym on the go. So for that podcast, we use one platform for another podcast, we use a second different platforms have different features, different things that you may want. And so there’s that, but you know, podcasts are relatively simple to generate, you can use a zoom platform to capture it, and then you take that audio and that’s your resume, you can do the editing, before and after. So you may want to get some knowledge there. But I would say that this is an opportunity for a lot of people to get into this game. You don’t have to make it harder than it needs to be. It may not be as sophisticated as other podcasts out there, but it If you have a message and content, you can do it with some effort.
Tim Mikhelashvili 10:03
And you have very diverse content, I took a look and you offer highlights from conferences. And a lot of very different content, right? So can you talk a little bit about how you structure the podcast and also how really long it takes to put one podcast together.
Shelby Englert 10:23
So urology in this case has diversity of specialties. And so we do want to make sure that we are representing our members. We know from our membership demographics where we have a heavier weight of specialties, but we also know that community urologists see all patients, so we try to be diverse and represent all of our areas of specialty. But then within our editorial calendar, we may have Specialty Series. So in the fall, we always do our oncology series, we just released a dei series about health equities. So within our 52 weeks, we may have a cup, several weeks that are focused on something after our annual meeting, we will repurpose some of our key courses, and send those out through the following six weeks. So we try to be diverse. And we try to provide a different variety. If you don’t want it, you just don’t listen to it. And you know, but it’s in your library, and you always have it available.
Tim Mikhelashvili 11:34
Yeah, yeah, it seems like you are very conscious of addressing the needs of your membership. So the video, do you have any video or other modes of repackaging this?
Shelby Englert 11:46
Absolutely. So like most associations, we have a learning management system that houses our catalog, catalog of editorial, you see, we have educational activities. But you know, this is about evolving our digital platforms. So we also have an AU, a university YouTube channel. And so a lot of our podcasts are put on the YouTube channel, whether it’s captured video, or just the audio that we put out there. So we have YouTube channel, we have podcasts, we are also we have four different apps that are generated out of our group, that takes a little bit more specialization in our staff selection. But we are very much looking in a five year way to ensure that when the next generation of residents become our members, we are meeting them where they are on their digital use.
Tim Mikhelashvili 12:36
How has it changed throughout its six years now? in existence, your podcast? Is it in terms of is there is there a any trend in terms of new content type of content, based on the feedback you’ve been receiving?
Shelby Englert 12:53
Um, we’re, we are more capable of putting these out more efficiently. So, you know, I think we, we have always been on target from the content, we’re getting better at the questions. Right. So what’s an engaging interview question, we really have a better set of understanding of how to prepare our speakers so that they don’t try to read slides that that’s not what this is. We don’t have slides. And so we don’t want it to be a podium presentation, we want it to be a very relaxed discussion between two experts in an area. And so I think it took our staff some time to get to that comfort level, but now they really do a great job.
Tim Mikhelashvili 13:38
So that’s, that’s really, you know, inspiring and encouraging. The podcast clearly has an impact on the community of urologists, right? So what what how do you think it has really helped to maintain and, you know, and, and grow your community of members and physicians.
Shelby Englert 14:00
So we, you know, I think it’s great because it touches so many more than your average activity. We, we know that people have different learning styles, different learning preferences and different schedules. And we are trying to be very conscious of providing different modalities. So we do have our in person courses, we have live webinars, we take that content and we try to repurpose it as I think I mentioned earlier, so we have a live webinar. We put it on the YouTube channel, we put it on the podcast, we we have it on our app accessible through our app. And so I think what it allows is we are reaching people where they are, we are providing them the the updates that we need to provide them the AUA also develops guidelines, and so we want to ensure that all urologists have access As to the updates of guidelines in a timely basis. And quite honestly, podcasts are the very effective and quick way of getting new information out to ensure that patient care is, is staying where it should be.
Tim Mikhelashvili 15:13
Distributing the podcasts also play some important role in its success and its growth. Can you speak a little bit? Can you elaborate a little bit on on your mechanism of distribution of the podcast that we spoke about? I think I know we had a conversation about this.
Shelby Englert 15:32
Well, the what’s great about podcasts is it is a push versus someone’s looking for it. So the podcast, as you know, most Podcasts can be pulled in through a phone app and the information is pushed, you know, what happens with our university library is people have to seek it out. And so I think that’s been the one of the strongest features of podcast episodes is that we are going once you subscribe, we’re pushing information out, I see and, you know, sometimes contents overwhelming. And, you know, we want to make sure that we’re using this distribution channel to get right in front of our urologists. It’s on their phone, it’s on their tablet, they can listen to it in the car in the gym. You know, in between cases. But yeah, it’s small. It’s short, and hopefully it’s effective.
Tim Mikhelashvili 16:29
Yeah, I see. So I think the important point that you mentioned there was that it’s not just passive distribution, but you sent notification so they receive notifications, right about the podcasts, which increases the likelihood of them listening to the so important distinctions there. So my last question really is, as you look back, you know, to a university, what are some of those key ingredients you think that have may have allowed it to run and you know, change patient care and create a build a community, make podcasts successful? How do you make a podcast successful and valuable? To help your audience?
Shelby Englert 17:07
Sure, content is king, contact to you know, I am a huge believer of Educational Needs Assessment research, we do it all the time to our members. You always know if you’re going to have a successful course, it’s the amount of marketing you have to do. If I have to browbeat people with marketing, we may not have landed on the educational need that truly exists. So we start with really understanding what is new, what is changing, evolving in healthcare in our area, and focusing our podcasts on that. Because, you know, they need that they may not know they need it yet. But you know, when you have a new guideline, they may not know all the pieces of it, we do so we’re pushing out that information. And so if you have the right content, you’re going to generate the buzz, you’re going to generate the subscriptions. And you can really see the new podcasts have slightly higher download rates than something that we weren’t sure about. We tried so you can definitely see it in your in your downloads, whether you hit the nail on the head with your content selection.
Tim Mikhelashvili 18:22
Yeah. Well, thank you very much Shelby, for sharing your inclusive, I would say very modern 360 approach to medical education. your long-term success and data that you’ve shared, I think reflect the power of the podcast for professional medical association such as yours. And as a new podcast series in external education. We are embarking on an ambitious journey to share why medical education matters today. And your comments are truly inspiring. So tune in to our upcoming episodes, which will feature other trending medical education podcasts their impact on the clinical point of care, as well as other platforms and their outcomes. If you’re a MAPS member, thank you for your support of MAPS. If you’re not yet a MAPS member and would like to access additional resources in this area. Please visit the MAPS website to explore joining today at MedicalAffairs.org/membership. This concludes our podcast. Thank you.
602 Park Point Drive, Suite 225, Golden, CO 80401 – +1 303.495.2073
© 2023 Medical Affairs Professional Society (MAPS). All Rights Reserved Worldwide.