When medical professionals want to stay in the loop on breaking medical news, there is one podcast they tune into week after week: PodMed TT.
Hosted by Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso (TTUHSC El Paso) President Richard Lange, M.D., M.B.A., and Johns Hopkins Medicine Director of Electronic News Media Elizabeth Tracey, M.S., PodMed TT covers trending research published in medical journals each week.
Dr. Lange and Tracey have been recording together for 14 years. They said the longevity and success of their podcasting relationship can be attributed to consistency and trustworthiness.
“As far as we know, it was the first medical podcast ever done,” Dr. Lange said. “And over these 14 years, there’s been a certain level of consistency. It’s very conversational. Elizabeth and I pick the studies we’re going to talk about from the hundreds published that week, but we don’t talk about them beforehand. We don’t know exactly the direction we’re going to take until we begin recording.”
The podcasts pack as much information as possible into a short, 10-minute recording. Dr. Lange and Tracey highlight four studies each week, making sure to keep the topics fresh, Tracey said.
“If we’ve been talking about a subject ad nauseam, then we don’t want to talk about it again unless there’s something really important,” Tracey said. “Right now, I would give you the opioid crisis for example. Unless there is something that is really amazing that we just learned, the likelihood is low that we’re going to be talking about that again.
“We have certain standards that have to be met,” she said. “They have to be peer-reviewed studies. Because I’m a medical journalist, I get a lot of information embargoed, so we take a look at it ahead of time, and we say, does this study meet the standard?”
Dr. Lange and Tracey each bring certain strengths to the podcast. Tracey interviews medical experts to glean a variety of opinions, and Dr. Lange uses his doctor’s eye to interpret the many studies coming out each week.
“I’m going to give (Dr. Lange) kudos in that he is very intellectually honest when it comes to his approach to the subject matter,” Tracey said. “He actually reads all of the papers, and he reads them in their entirety. So you can imagine when we have a huge review paper or something like (United States Preventive Services Task Force) recommendations about a certain clinical topic, it can be a pretty lengthy thing to look into that. The other thing that he does is, he reads the editorials. So, he takes the opinion of the experts in that particular field and integrates that into what he’s thinking about.”
Longtime fans were disheartened when Johns Hopkins discontinued the podcast in 2017. But thanks to support from loyal listeners, Dr. Lange and Tracey found a way to restore the program under the umbrella of TTUHSC El Paso.
“After 14 years, we weren’t ready to give it up,” Dr. Lange said. “The ability to take complex studies or complex scientific research and bring it to our listeners on a weekly basis is still very important to Elizabeth and me. So even though we changed it from Hopkins to TTUHSC El Paso, there was never any question that we were going to continue it.”
Many podcasts have come and gone since Dr. Lange and Tracey began recording 14 years ago, yet PodMed TT continues going strong. Except for the period of transition from Johns Hopkins to TTUHSC El Paso, the duo has missed only one week, when the recording day fell on Christmas.
“A couple of things inspire me to keep PodMed TT going,” Dr. Lange said. “One, I always want to keep up with the latest medical studies and news. So, from a very selfish standpoint, it helps keep me relevant, pertinent and up-to-date. The second is, we really do desire to present the most relevant, pertinent and up-to-date studies to our listeners, as well. We only talk about studies that were published that particular week. It’s that desire to inform myself and to make sure the public is informed, as well, that drives us to do this.”
PodMed TT can be found on iTunes or your favorite podcasting app. Tracey also recaps the podcast on her weekly blog, which can be found at eptechview.ttuhsc.edu.