Neurology podcast utilization during the COVID-19 pandemic
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As medical education shifted to a virtual environment during the early coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, we evaluated how neurology podcasting may have been utilized during this period, and which features of podcasts have been more highly sought by a medical audience.
We conducted a retrospective analysis of neurology-themed blogs and/or podcasts between April 2019 and May 2020. Programs were eligible if they reported mean monthly downloads > 2000, were affiliated with an academic society, or offered continuing medical education credit. Thirty-day download counts were compared between study months, with adjustment for multiple testing. Exploratory analyses were performed to determine which podcast features were associated with higher downloads.
Of the 12 neurology podcasts surveyed, 8 completed the survey and 5 met inclusion criteria. The median monthly download count was 2865 (IQR 869-7497), with significant variability between programs (p < 0.001). While there was a 358% increase in downloads during April 2020 when compared to the previous month, this was not significant (median 8124 [IQR 2913-14,177] vs. 2268 [IQR 540-6116], padj = 0.80). The non-significant increase in overall downloads during April 2020 corresponded to an increase in unique episodes during that month (r = 0.48, p = 0.003). There was no difference in 30-day downloads among episodes including COVID-19 content versus not (median 1979 [IQR 791-2873] vs. 1171 [IQR 405-2665], p = 0.28).
In this unique, exploratory study of academic neurology-themed podcasts, there was no significant increase in episode downloads during the early COVID-19 pandemic. A more comprehensive analysis of general and subspecialty medical podcasts is underway.