By Sabrine Elkhodr - 6th Sep 2019 - The Medmastery show

14 medical podcasts you need to follow today

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1,440 minutes. That’s how much time we have to spend daily, no matter who we are. Once you’ve accounted for working, sleeping, eating, and a little leisure or family time,, how else can we choose to spend those minutes? If you’re looking for an entertaining and efficient way to keep up-to-date with what’s going on in the medical world, you could always tune into a podcast or two. 

Some of them are even short enough to listen to on your daily commute, or one of those elusive coffee breaks we vaguely remember hearing about…

Read on for our take on the top fourteen medical podcasts out there right now. They’re mainly aimed at those who’ve already got their MD, but we’ve included a couple for med students too.  

1. New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM)

New England Journal of Medicine is arguably the most important general medical publication in the world, drawing together stories on research, reviews, and opinion. The weekly podcasts are around 30 minutes, and are available for Apple, Android, and Windows devices. Don’t worry if you miss a broadcast—you can catch up with podcasts from previous weeks at your leisure. We especially like this one because, well, it’s the NEJM. What’s not to like? It’s the highest impact academic medical journal out there after all. 

2. Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA)

The Journal of the American Medical Association covers a whole host of specialties in its podcasts—but we’re going to stick with general medicine for this one. These podcasts are normally released each month, and are around 15 minutes each, these bite-sized morsels of wisdom are a great way to stay informed about the articles in this month’s issue. The fact that you can listen to a couple of these within a thirty minute commute makes them a super-efficient option.

3. British Medical Journal (BMJ)

Meanwhile, across the pond, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) takes a slightly different approach. It produces very short specialist pieces of less than ten minutes, and longer more general interest pieces of 25 minutes or more. While some of the podcasts are very focused on the UK National Health Service (NHS), many have global and international relevance, outlining the latest developments and thoughts in areas such as cardiology and acute pancreatitis. This podcast is appealing because of the BMJ’s long history—the journal itself has been in production since 1840, so its credentials are very well-established. 

4. Second Opinion

We’re staying in the UK for Second Opinion, a regular podcast from celebrity physician Dr Christian Jenner. We enjoy this podcast partly due to Dr Jenner’s straight talking approach to life in general, and also because he takes a slightly different approach—his sessions take the form of interviews with studio guests. Topics have included: addiction, detection dogs, mental health, and death. You will need to allow anywhere from 25 minutes to 45 minutes to stay up-to-date with these guys, and the season takes a break in the summer. 

5. Nature

For those who like a little hard science with their medicine, Nature offers a surprisingly broad range of podcasts. While some recent coverage has been dominated by the 50th anniversary of the lunar landings, other topics of the day have included some surprising effects of microbes and sex differences when it comes to pain. There’s usually at least one podcast each week, and you’ll need to allow ten to 20 minutes if you’re planning on listening in full. One particularly nice feature is that Nature provides details of the timings for the start of each story. In the science world, Nature is as high impact as the New England Journal of Medicine is within the medical arena. 

6. Legends of Surgery

This collection tells tales of pioneering surgeons, inventors, innovators,and specialists. You can learn about any topic from heart surgery to surgical staplers, and techniques used and developed around the world, from South Africa to Japan. We adore this podcast because it brings history to life in a really human way. You can catch up with podcasts for the last few years as they have a good archive. Even the longest sessions are less than 20 minutes long, and the guys in charge are open to suggestions for future podcast ideas too. 

7. Behind The Knife

Sticking with surgery as a specialty, the Behind The Knife series podcast runs a little longer than others, usually lasting in the region of 45 minutes or slightly more. Think of this as a journal club formatin a podcast; you can also choose your update from either the general or medical category or check out the archives back as far as the beginning of the sequence in 2015.

8. Bedside Rounds

If you’re looking for a little light relief along with your medicine, then Bedside Rounds was started by the author when he was a second year resident in Oregon, back in 2015. The early podcasts are like a story you might hear if you’re seated next to an especially entertaining guest at a dinner party or cocktail soiree (that last description is pretty much the author’s own), but in recent years the podcasts have grown in depth and coverage. We especially like this one because of the humorous delivery style. We also enjoy it because members of the American College of Physicians can gain CME and MOC points. The author is also careful to point out that the podcasts are not intended to replace medical advice. Oh, and theyare typically around 15 minutes, so it doesn’t require too much spare time for you to feel the benefit. 

9. Docs Outside The Box

Staying with the quirky individualistic take on medicine, we’re also recommending Dr Nii Darko and Docs Outside The Box. This collection of podcasts is really eclectic—it’s all about the stories, from the business of medicine, to how women in medicine can make the most of their time and careers, and evenfolk practicing medicine in non-traditional environments as well as so much more. If you’re interested in the back catalogue as well as the current edition, you can select a category from careers, personal finance, educational, entertainment or lifestyle. To hear some of the sessions you may need to sign up for Spotify or other third party platforms. 

10. This Podcast Will Kill You 

If you have a lot more time to spare, like, between an hour and two hours, then This Podcast Will Kill You offers fascinating, in-depth insights into whatever your healthcare specialty is. Find out about the history of all kinds of diseases and conditions, from Helicobacter pylori to yellow fever. You can also find out how aspirin was developed and all about the plague and influenza. At the time of writing this, there are around 32 podcasts available. 

11. Everyday Emergency 

Pretty much every clinician will know about Médecins sans Frontières (or Doctors Without Borders for those who prefer the English translation). Their Everyday Emergency podcasts are hard-hitting medical accounts,  boots on the ground style from around the world, illuminating the humanitarian and human face of disasters, displacements, and conflicts. New editions of this podcast are typically added every few months rather than weekly or monthly. These podcasts offer first-hand insights into events affecting our entire global village. We admire this podcast for its honesty, clarity, and courage. 

12. Health Now

Health Now is the name for the WebMD podcasts on health and wellness. Their coverage can help you keep tabs on what your patients might currently be a little concerned about—these podcasts are usually released into the wild every couple of weeks and are around 30 minutes long. Recent topics have included AI (hey there, Alexa, Siri, Cortana, and anyone else we might have missed…) and measles. We like this one because it gives an insight into what actual patients might be worried about. 

13. Medical Education 

While most of our favorite podcasts are aimed at qualified clinicians, there are also some pretty useful editions, which are particularly suitable for medical students and educators, including Medical Education. We know how hard it is to learn all those topics you learn in school, let alone stay up-to-date. These podcasts are especially appealing as they go beyond what you learn in lectures and look at the world from an educational point of view.  

14. Straight Talk MD

In Straight Talk MD, Dr Frank Sweeny takes a pretty fearless look at all kinds of broader factors that affect all of us, from the political, to the controversal, such as vaccinations. Cloning, burnout, ethics—nothing is off limits. Like the UK’s Dr Jenner, Dr Sweeny also regularly interviews guests on his shows. The duration of these podcasts vary, but are usually on the longer side, at an hour or more. 

So, whether you only have ten minutes to spare, or ninety, subscribe to a podcast or two to keep your knowledge up-to-date and maybe even stay entertained. 

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14 medical podcasts every doctor needs to follow: @NEJM @JAMA_current @Heart_BMJ @nature @SurgeryLegends @BehindTheKnife @BedsideRounds @drniidarko @tpwky @MSF @StraightTalkMD || Check out Medmastery's medical podcast review at