American College of Physicians: Internal Medicine — Doctors for Adults ®

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Podcast engages medical bloggers in a virtual talk show

From the November ACP Internist, copyright © 2008 by the American College of Physicians

Jessica BertholdBy Jessica Berthold

There are hundreds of podcasts on medicine. Some come with illustrious affiliations, such as the Annals of Internal Medicine and Mayo Clinic podcasts. Others are slapped together by regular folks with the strongest of ideas and spirits, who later find the flesh a bit less than willing. These tend to just … sort of … fade out.

Not Doctor Anonymous. The Ohio Everydoc's weekly live podcast, during which he interviews well-known medical bloggers, has been going strong for more than a year. Its interactive "talk show" format allows listeners to call in with questions for guests, as well as instant-message in a chatroom while the show is live.

Doctor Anonymous"Usually there will be 15-20 people hanging out in the chatroom while they listen, making fun of me as the show is going on," quipped Dr. Anonymous—also known as Dr. A, or in real life, as Mike Sevilla, MD.

Medical blog stars like KevinMD, Dr. Val (Jones), Dr. Wes (Fisher) and Kim from Emergiblog have all appeared as podcast guests, sometimes more than once. They talk about their careers and why they chose them; they talk about their blogs and other people's blogs. They bond.

"At first, I did a pre-recorded podcast," Dr. Sevilla said. "I got no gratification from that, though, because what I really enjoy is live interaction with other people."

Before the podcast, there was simply a blog. It began in late 2005, when Dr. Sevilla, a thirty-something family medicine doctor (and tech geek), was laid up at home with an illness. Bored with TV, he began listening to podcasts and reading medical blogs … and wondering if he might be able to create a blog of his own.

"It took me six months to get the courage up," Dr. Sevilla said. "I worried whether I'd have enough to talk about, and whether people would read it."

Since its June 2006 start, the blog has moved from talking (anonymously) about patients, to offering commentary on medical news, to a portal for podcasts. Lately, it has given way to Dr. Sevilla's newest passion: video.

Video "brings an entirely new dimension to the blogger," Dr. Sevilla wrote recently on the blog. "It's usually a 'one take' situation where you see less editing versus a blog post, which I think is a good thing because you see a little more into the personality of the person."

Dr. Sevilla uses his video clips to promote his upcoming podcasts, summarize recent podcasts, talk about the work of fellow bloggers, and offer snapshots of his life (one clip was filmed in his car as he drove anxiously to take his board re-certification exam).

The next step for the ever-evolving Dr. Anonymous enterprise? Guest starring. Dr. Sevilla has begun contributing to The Differential, a fan podcast that dissects episodes of the television show House, M.D. Since the rest of the podcast's team are non-doctors, Dr. Sevilla provides an official dose of medical insight to the weekly analysis of the show's plot.

"There is this community that you fall into when you start to blog," Dr. Sevilla said. "It takes you places you didn't expect."

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Additional podcasts of interest to doctors

Annals of Internal Medicine

New England Journal of Medicine

Journal of the American Medical Association

Listen to the Lancet

Mayo Clinic

Johns Hopkins Medicine

NIH Research Radio

Medicine 411 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

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