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Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Podcasts Should Tailor Characteristics Such as Episode Length and Social Media Utilization for Best Audience Engagement

Open AccessPublished:February 19, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.asmr.2022.01.008

      Purpose

      To describe the growth and characteristics of active orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts.

      Methods

      Three common podcasting platforms (Apple, Google, and Spotify) were queried July 24, 2021 using the search term “sports medicine.” For each unique active podcast hosted by an orthopaedic surgeon, data were collected on year of the first episode, number of episodes, frequency of episodes, types of guests, topics discussed, episode length, and social media presence. Descriptive characteristics were then calculated.

      Results

      15 podcasts met inclusion criteria. Seven (46.7%) of these podcasts were started within 12 months of July 24, 2021. The most common episode release schedule was weekly, and podcast lengths averaged 21 minutes, 47 seconds (SD 17:17, range: 11:02–1:49:13). All podcasts featured guests, most often from a variety of sports medicine backgrounds. Social media platforms were commonly used by podcast hosts, with social media account follower numbers as high as over 100,000, and consistent engagement across three major social media platforms for most podcasts.

      Conclusions

      This study found that episodes are typically released weekly and average 21 minutes, 47 seconds long, with most covering a wide array of topics in sports medicine. The Facebook accounts of these podcasts displayed higher numbers of followers compared to other social media platforms; however, Instagram was superior for engagement.

      Clinical Relevance

      Orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts have an increasing presence and can be used to increase trainee engagement and public exposure via tailoring of podcast episode lengths and selection of social media platforms with high audience interaction.

      Introduction

      Podcasts have become increasingly used within the realm of medical education.
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      The 2021 Infinite Dial, a report series covering consumer usage of media and technology, recently published data that podcasting familiarity and listening reached all-time highs in 2021. This is especially true among weekly listeners, who averaged 5.1 podcast shows per week, as of April 2021. The demographics of podcast listeners continue to diversify as well, with the proportion of female listeners reaching a high point in 2021. There were over 48 million total podcast episodes across all subjects as of April 2021,
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      with 57% of the United States (US) population, or an estimated 162 million people, having ever listened to one.
      Studies have shown that podcasting is a feasible option for disseminating health and research information.
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      and study participants find them easy to use and engage with, while offering options for broad exposure, as well as targeted learning.
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      Independent and interwoven: A qualitative exploration of residents’ experiences with educational podcasts.
      Studies have shown that medical podcasts, in general, have greatly increased in number and popularity over the past two decades with the rise of the Internet.
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      However, few studies have looked at the rise and impact of podcasts related to orthopaedic surgery, with even less of a focus on orthopaedic sports medicine. In January 2020, Little et al. found that there were only 10 orthopaedic podcasts as a whole, 5 of which had no episodes released within 6 months of data collection.
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      Good morning, orthopods: The growth and future implications of podcasts in orthopaedic surgery.
      The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has helped spur a movement toward more online education opportunities, catalyzing the supplementation of resident education with online resources that has been ongoing over the past decade.
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      • Kamath A.F.
      Good morning, orthopods: The growth and future implications of podcasts in orthopaedic surgery.
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      E-learning has continued to gain popularity, although limited studies have been done to quantify the growth.
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      • Cwalina T.B.
      • Acuña A.J.
      • Samuel L.T.
      • Kamath A.F.
      Good morning, orthopods: The growth and future implications of podcasts in orthopaedic surgery.
      The purpose of our study was to describe the growth and characteristics of active orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts. Our hypothesis is that there has been substantial growth recently among orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts, with a considerable presence on social media.

      Methods

      Three of the most common podcasting platforms (Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, and Spotify) were queried on July 24, 2021 using the search term “sports medicine.” Podcasts were included if they focused on orthopaedic sports medicine, were hosted either solely or primarily by a trained orthopaedic surgeon, and were “active” podcasts (i.e., those having released an episode within 3 months of the date of data collection). Podcasts that had only one episode, were student projects, non-English language, or those that may have featured sports medicine specialists, but did not focus strictly on sports medicine as their subject matter, were excluded. Two coauthors independently searched and filtered the results.
      For each of the podcasts included, data were collected on year of the first episode, number of episodes, frequency of episodes, types of guests, topics discussed, social media presence, and episode length. After data collection and review, we elected to divide this data by the year 2017 given a stark difference in total episode numbers for the podcasts prior to this date. Episode frequency was determined by taking an average of the frequency of releases over the 3 months prior to the date of data collection. For cases in which a podcast was only sporadically active since the time of the first episode, a typical episode release schedule from a recent active period was used. The frequency of podcast episode release was classified as either “weekly,” “biweekly,” “monthly,” or “other.” The “other” designation was used for podcasts that had inconsistent release schedules. “Topics discussed” was determined by evaluating the most common topics covered in each of the episodes. The topics were then divided into three categories: “daily life and athletics,” “literature,” or “general topics.” Average episode lengths were determined for each podcast over the past 12 months from the date of data collection, as permitted by podcast lifespan. Social media presence and engagement were determined by looking at the Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages for each podcast and determining the average number of likes, comments, and shares for each over the past 12 months, when possible. In the event of multiple host accounts, the one held by the primary host (and not the larger publishing group) was used to ensure specificity to the podcast in question. All data analysis was conducted using Microsoft Excel v.16.50. This study was exempt from Institutional Review Board approval, given its usage of public data and lack of protected patient health information.

      Results

      A total of 15 unique podcasts met inclusion criteria (Table 1). There was a noticeable rise in active podcasts over the past 2 years. Of all included podcasts, seven (46.7%) were started within 12 months of July 24, 2021 (Fig 1). The average number of episodes across all podcasts was 149.8 (standard deviation [SD]: 247.8, range: 8–806), with those beginning prior to 2017 having an average number of 476.0 episodes (SD: 299.2, range: 190–806), and those beginning in 2017 or after averaging 31.2 episodes (SD 32.4, range 8–121) (P = .059). Episodes were most commonly released in a weekly manner (9, 60.0%), followed by a sporadic “other” pattern (3, or 20.0%), then monthly (3, or 20.0%) (Table 2). Ten podcasts (66.7%) had a variety of guests featured on their shows, which often included experts from other fields in or related to sports medicine (e.g., athletes, physical therapists, and chiropractors). Other types of guests included almost exclusively orthopaedic surgeons (3, or 20.0%) or recent journal article authors (2, or 13.3%) (Table 2). General topics in sports medicine (e.g., managing sports injuries, rehabilitation) was the most common topic discussed on a podcast (7, or 46.7%), followed by discussions on literature (5, or 33.3%) and daily life and athletics (3, or 20.0%) (Table 2).
      Table 1Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Podcasts
      NameDate StartedNumber of EpisodesFrequency of Episode ReleaseGuests
      American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM)Jan 3, 2013190OtherRecent Authors
      British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM)June 25, 2013258WeeklyVariable
      Inside Sports MedicineMar 22, 2014806WeeklyVariable
      Sports Medicine WeeklyMar 25, 2015650WeeklyVariable
      American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)April 28, 201727WeeklyVariable
      ArthroscopyNov 2, 2018121WeeklyRecent Authors
      Pediatric Sports Medicine PodcastMay 29, 202025OtherVariable
      6-8 Weeks, Perspectives on Sports MedicineJul 14, 202050WeeklyVariable
      The Sports Medicine OrthopodSept 23, 202036WeeklyVariable
      International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS)Oct 19, 20209MonthlyOrthopaedic Surgeons
      Peds SportsJan 30, 20219MonthlyOrthopaedic Surgeons
      Victory Over Injury PodcastFeb 5, 202118OtherVariable
      Breaking BonesFeb 7, 202124WeeklyVariable
      The Sports Docs PodcastMar 7, 20218MonthlyOrthopaedic Surgeons
      Sports Medicine on TapApril 1, 202116WeeklyVariable
      Figure thumbnail gr1
      Fig 1Trends in number of active orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts available for listening on Apple, Google, and Spotify.
      Table 2Episode Release Frequency, Types of Guests, and Topics Discussed on Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Podcasts
      No.%
      Frequency of Episode Release
       Daily00
       Weekly960.0
       Biweekly00
       Monthly320.0
       Other320.0
      Types of Guests
       Orthopaedic Surgeons320.0
       Recent Authors213.3
       Variable1066.7
      Topics Discussed
       Daily Life and Athletics320.0
       Literature533.3
       General topics746.7
      Instagram was the most popular platform among the platforms searched for social media engagement. There were multiple instances of some podcasts not having an account on one or more of the platforms, with all averages and ranges shown in Tables 3 and 4. The average episode length across all podcasts was 21:47 (minutes:seconds) (SD: 17:17, range: 11:02–1:49:13) (Table 5). The British Journal of Sports Medicine had the largest social media presence and engagement. Of note, a higher presence was seen on Facebook, but more engagement was seen on Instagram.
      Table 3Social Media Presence of the Podcasts
      NameNumber of Followers
      FacebookInstagramTwitter
      American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM)26,9422,26737,400
      British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM)109,14474,40083,700
      Inside Sports Medicine1,381N/A423
      Sports Medicine Weekly2,3024331,842
      American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)15,8331,3829,565
      Arthroscopy7,03913,60015,300
      Pediatric Sports Medicine Podcast38N/A477
      6-8 Weeks, Perspectives on Sports MedicineN/AN/AN/A
      The Sports Medicine Orthopod271141
      International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS)3,4015,1159,405
      Peds SportsN/A23779
      Victory Over Injury Podcast(personal account)2,809400
      Breaking BonesN/AN/AN/A
      The Sports Docs PodcastN/A3100
      Sports Medicine on TapN/A50N/A
      Table 4Social Media Engagement of the Podcasts
      NameAverage Facebook Likes [n (range)]Average Facebook Comments [n (range)]Average Facebook Shares [n (range)]Average Instagram Likes [n (range)]Average Instagram Comments [n (range)]Average Twitter Likes [n (range)]Average Twitter Retweets [n (range)]Average Twitter Replies
      [n (range)]
      American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM)15.80 (1-51).20 (0-5)4.67 (0-16)28.69 (6-79).37 (0-4)20.95 (0-92)7.95 (0-44).20 (0-1)
      British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM)57.91 (0-435)1.74 (0-33)20.97 (0-144)843.29 (149-3961)10.90 (0-75)65.71 (19-358)16.92 (1-165).55 (0-3)
      Inside Sports Medicine2.45 (0-9)5.92 (0-37).34 (0-3)N/AN/A0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)
      Sports Medicine Weekly1.48 (0-6).05 (0-1).57 (0-6)6.22 (4-50).43 (0-5).46 (0-2).07 (0-1)0 (0-0)
      American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)7.40 (0-32).06 (0-2)1.44 (0-27)25.12 (2-128).77 (0-5)7.58 (0-36)2.29 (0-15).13 (0-3)
      Arthroscopy12.57 (2-65).05 (0-2)5.32 (0-25)82.79 (11-281).61 (0-7)18.85 (1-60)8.15 (0-23).40 (0-4)
      Pediatric Sports Medicine Podcast.56 (0-7).25 (0-4).19 (0-1)N/AN/A5.66 (1-27)2.76 (1-15).27 (0-3)
      6-8 Weeks, Perspectives on Sports MedicineN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
      The Sports Medicine Orthopod0 (0-0)0 (0-0)0 (0-0)31.32 (13-47)1.27 (1-10).61 (0-10).22 (0-4).19 (0-2)
      International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS)3.92 (0-15).01 (0-1).87 (0-6)42.24 (7-147).46 (0-10)3.64 (0-14)1.36 (0-2).03 (0-2)
      Peds SportsN/AN/AN/A8.50 (7-10)1.00 (1-1)6.00 (1-13)3.38 (1-6)0 (0-0)
      Victory Over Injury Podcast2.88 (0-33).37 (0-9).28 (0-9)76.87 (20-457)8.22 (0-36)5.48 (0-12).96 (0-3).08 (0-2)
      Breaking BonesN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
      The Sports Docs PodcastN/AN/AN/A25.88 (13-48)1.81 (0-5)N/AN/AN/A
      Sports Medicine on TapN/AN/AN/A8.30 (2-14).67 (0-1)N/AN/AN/A
      Table 5Average Episode Length of Each Podcast
      NameAverage Length (minutes:seconds) (range, SD)
      American Journal of Sports Medicine (AJSM)11:02 (5:00-22:00, 6:06)
      Inside Sports Medicine12:19 (3:00-19:00, 3:43)
      Sports Medicine Weekly12:59 (1:00-42:00, 8:59)
      Arthroscopy18:04 (8:00-44:00, 7:07)
      British Journal of Sports Medicine (BJSM)21:14 (11:00-41:00, 6:46)
      6-8 Weeks, Perspectives on Sports Medicine25:07 (17:00-36:00, 4:29)
      American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM)25:20 (14:00-41:00, 9:48)
      Breaking Bones28:58 (28:00-29:00, 0:13)
      The Sports Docs Podcast29:23 (22:00-37:00, 5:06)
      International Society of Arthroscopy, Knee Surgery and Orthopaedic Sports Medicine (ISAKOS)35:26 (18:00-98:00, 24:11)
      Peds Sports36:20 (9:00-66:00, 19:09)
      The Sports Medicine Orthopod39:50 (11:00-104:00, 22:22)
      Sports Medicine on Tap41:04 (6:00-71:00, 15:52)
      Pediatric Sports Medicine Podcast49:08 (31:00-63:00, 10:24)
      Victory Over Injury Podcast1:49:13 (90:00-148:00, 19:04)

      Discussion

      Most orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts followed a weekly release schedule with an average run time of 21:47. The presence of sports medicine podcasts on social media was variable; however, we found that Facebook had a higher number of followers, while Instagram had more audience engagement. All of the podcasts had featured guests, with most podcasts discussing a variety of educational and athletic topics. General topics in sports medicine were most often covered; however, some podcasts focused on daily life and athletics, while others were journal-sponsored and highlighted recently published articles.
      Technology has and will continue to affect the way we hear, learn, and disseminate information. This is no less true for the medical field, which has seen an explosion in the use of various forms of media for information sharing, one of which is podcasting. With lower barriers of entry to publishing compared to traditional content, podcasting is a widely accessible medium for sharing information.
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      Podcasting in medical education: A review of the literature.
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      • et al.
      The past, present, and future of orthopedic education: Lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic.
      Podcasts are beneficial additions to existing medical education curricula.
      • Jella T.K.
      • Cwalina T.B.
      • Acuña A.J.
      • Samuel L.T.
      • Kamath A.F.
      Good morning, orthopods: The growth and future implications of podcasts in orthopaedic surgery.
      ,
      • Plancher K.D.
      • Shanmugam J.P.
      • Petterson S.C.
      The changing face of orthopaedic education: Searching for the new reality after COVID-19.
      ,
      • Schöbel T.
      • Zajonz D.
      • Melcher P.
      • et al.
      Podcasts as a teaching tool in orthopaedic surgery: Is it beneficial or more an exemption card from attending lectures?.
      ,
      • Schwartz A.M.
      • Wilson J.M.
      • Boden S.D.
      • Moore T.J.
      • Bradbury T.L.
      • Fletcher N.D.
      Managing resident workforce and education during the COVID-19 pandemic evolving strategies and lessons learned.
      In a national U.S. survey study conducted from October 2017 to March 2018 of 374 orthopaedic surgery residents, 11.1% reported using podcasts as an educational resource in their training.
      • Rogers M.J.
      • Zeidan M.
      • Flinders Z.S.
      • Presson A.P.
      • Burks R.
      Educational resource utilization by current orthopaedic surgical residents: A nation-wide survey.
      Depending on the specialty, up to 88% of residents state they listen to medically relevant podcasts.
      • Kaplan H.
      • Verma D.
      • Sargsyan Z.
      What traditional lectures can learn from podcasts.
      Podcasts are frequently used in place of textbooks and are often rated as being more helpful.
      • Bernstein E.
      • Bhardwaj N.
      • Pfoh E.R.
      • Yudelevich E.
      A nationwide survey of educational resource utilization and perception among internal medicine residents.
      However, there are very few orthopaedic podcasts that are oriented to the education of trainees, with most of them intended instead for patient education.
      • Raja B.S.
      • Choudhury A.K.
      • Paul S.
      • Rajkumar S.
      • Kalia R.B.
      Online educational resources for orthopaedic residency—a narrative review.
      In 2021, Raja et al. found that, of 492 identified online websites with only orthopaedic content, only 16 (3.3%) were directed for orthopaedic learning and not patient education.
      • Raja B.S.
      • Choudhury A.K.
      • Paul S.
      • Rajkumar S.
      • Kalia R.B.
      Online educational resources for orthopaedic residency—a narrative review.
      Of 22 orthopaedic podcasts specifically found in their search, only 9 with similar characteristics were used for final analysis.
      • Raja B.S.
      • Choudhury A.K.
      • Paul S.
      • Rajkumar S.
      • Kalia R.B.
      Online educational resources for orthopaedic residency—a narrative review.
      Little et al. found that orthopaedic surgery ranked 13th in the category of most total podcast episodes and 15th in the category of most estimated hours of podcasting content among 19 researched specialties as of 2020.
      • Little A.
      • Hampton Z.
      • Gronowski T.
      • Meyer C.
      • Kalnow A.
      Podcasting in medicine: A review of the current content by specialty.
      Given the rise in orthopaedic sports medicine podcasts found in this study and the shift to more online education as a result of the COVID-19, we anticipate increases in the use of podcasts by orthopaedic trainees.

      Limitations

      There are several limitations to our study. First, the methodology used to determine which podcasts focused on orthopaedic sports medicine was subjective, although this was mitigated by confirming between two independent coauthors. The quality of the podcasts as they relate to orthopaedic sports medicine was inconsistent, given variability in content between episodes and the tendency of many conversation-based podcasts to go off topic. A further challenge was in ensuring a thorough search of all podcasts as they relate to orthopaedic sports medicine, although we used one search term across three popular platforms. A final limitation was determining accurate numbers for podcast episode count and start dates, as there were inconsistencies between the host platforms (Google, Apple, and Spotify), and even on the social media pages for the individual podcasts.

      Conclusion

      This study found that episodes are typically released weekly and average 21 minutes, 47 seconds long, with most covering a wide array of topics in sports medicine. The Facebook accounts of these podcasts displayed higher numbers of followers compared to other social media platforms; however, Instagram was superior for engagement.

      Supplementary Data

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