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Podcasting: Contemporary patient education

| Reprints
April 1, 2008
by Daniel V. Abreu, MD, Thomas K. Tamura, MD, J. Andrew Sipp, MD, Donald G. Keamy Jr., MD, MPH, and Roland D. Eavey, MD, SM


Portable video technology is a widely available new tool with potential to be used by pediatric otolaryngology practices for patient and family education. Podcasts are media broadcasts that employ this new technology. They can be accessed via the Internet and viewed either on a personal computer or on a handheld device, such as an iPod or an MP3 player. We wished to examine the feasibility of establishing a podcast-hosting Web site. We digitally recorded pediatric otologic procedures in the operating room and saved the digital files to DVDs. We then edited the DVDs at home with video-editing software on a personal computer. Next, spoken narrative was recorded with audio-recording software and combined with the edited video clips. The final products were converted into the M4V file format, and the final versions were uploaded onto our hospital's Web site. We then downloaded the podcasts onto a high-quality portable media player so that we could evaluate their quality. All of the podcasts are now on the hospital Web site, where they can be downloaded by patients and families at no cost. The site includes instructions on how to download the appropriate free software for viewing the podcasts on a portable media player or on a computer. Using this technology for patient education expands the audience and permits portability of information. We conclude that a home computer can be used to inexpensively create informative surgery demonstrations that can be accessed via a Web site and transferred to portable viewing devices with excellent quality.

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