The value of podcasting for medical professionals

Presented by:

  • Beth Harrell, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist of Health at Every Size (HAES®)
  • Jeffrey DeSarbo, Medical Director at ED-180 Eating Disorder Treatment Programs
  • Karin Lewis, Founder of The Karin Lewis Eating Disorder Center
  • Katie Piel, Primary Therapist at Within Health

More than 82 million people in the U.S. listened to podcasts in 2021, and this figure is expected to reach over 100 million by 2024.1 Medical and healthcare podcasts are no exception, having increased significantly in popularity in recent years. Many healthcare professionals have taken advantage of this opportunity, creating podcasts centered around their specialties, interests, and passions. Not only can treatment providers educate other providers, but they can also help listeners who may be struggling with various conditions.

Why is the podcast an effective medium for medical professionals?

Research has found that the average person listens to seven podcasts per week.2 For many people, podcasts may be their primary source of information and education, including those seeking help for various medical and psychological conditions.

Podcasts are so effective for treatment professionals because of their accessibility. They are readily acceptable to all people, from medical students and medical professionals to laypeople seeking community, validation, or authoritative information.

Before podcasting, many types of medical research were only available in scholarly journals, typically written for other professionals and difficult for laypeople to understand. Now, people can unlock a wealth of knowledge with the click of a button, whether they are driving, doing dishes, or walking the dog. This convenience can allow medical professionals to reach so many more people than they would otherwise. 

Plus, reading a journal article is inactive, whereas, with a podcast, there are conversations and discussions, making it more interactive and often easier to attend to. They take dry sources of information and make them three-dimensional, applying real-life case studies or hypothetical situations to various topics. And these topics can range from major fields of study like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders to niche subjects within these fields, such as eating disorders in men, eating disorders and substance misuse, and eating disorders and trauma. This wide breadth of knowledge allows listeners to choose what topics they want to listen to at that moment, whether they’re hoping to learn more about an area of study or stay up-to-date on the newest research. 

Unique opportunities for healthcare professionals and podcasting

Health professionals may find many unique opportunities and advantages to starting a podcast, such as:

  • Debunking myths
  • Fostering community
  • Sharing and learning new information and research
  • Growing the practice / gaining clients

Professional podcasts can help debunk myths

Having a platform can help healthcare professionals debunk myths and misconceptions about various topics and fight stigma and shame. For example, it’s a common misconception that eating disorders predominantly affect white, thin cisgender, heterosexual girls, and young women, a misbelief that perpetuates fatphobia, weight stigma, racism (especially anti-Blackness), transphobia, homophobia, classism, ageism, and more. 

People may come to an eating disorder podcast after having been told recovery isn’t possible or that they’ve failed their recovery because they slipped back into old patterns and behaviors. Podcast hosts and guests have the opportunity to address these myths, empower listeners, and validate their feelings, concerns, and fears.

Podcasts can help foster community

Starting a podcast can allow you to engage and connect with your listeners. Many people struggling with various issues come to podcasts to combat their isolation and discover that others may have similar struggles or feelings. The very nature of the podcast medium can break down the barrier between professionals and listeners, creating a community and a place for people to feel like they belong. In addition, many podcast hosts refer to their listeners by a certain name, which can also help to create an intimate connection between not only the host and listeners but among listeners.

Medical professionals can also encourage listener participation by letting people write in questions that they can then answer in future episodes. And while a podcast isn’t a replacement for treatment or professional support, it can still provide people with a place to seek advice and encouragement. This is particularly true for people facing several barriers to quality care, such as living in a rural location, having no transportation, having caregiving duties, and not having insurance.

Podcasts help facilitate knowledge sharing

Healthcare professionals often juggle many roles and responsibilities, making it challenging to stay current on every new research development. However, inviting other professionals to the podcast and interviewing them can be an invaluable way to learn new things about your specialty or field. And simply listening to another medical podcast on your commute can also ensure you know the latest developments, breakthroughs, studies, and beyond. In this way, podcasting can facilitate collective knowledge sharing, benefiting everyone. 

Podcasting can help attract new clients

A key benefit of podcasting is connecting with potential clients. For example, if someone comes to your podcast because they struggle with a particular condition you specialize in treating, they may contact you about treatment, especially if they are a loyal listener and feel comfortable with you. And even if you aren’t the right provider for them, you can help point them in the right direction so they can receive specialized care that addresses their unique needs.

Tips and tricks for medical professionals who want to start a podcast

If you are a healthcare professional looking to start a podcast, you need to establish whether you have a message you’re determined to get out there, and you’ve got to be passionate about it. Podcasting takes a lot of work, planning, and organization, and may burn you out if you aren’t invested in getting your message out there and helping your listeners. 

Once you do decide to start a podcast, you will want to properly prepare and plan by doing the following:

  • Choose your particular topic or niche
  • Come up with a name that reflects your topic and is memorable
  • Establish how long your episodes will be
  • Outline the flow of a sample episode
  • Plan out episode topics for the forthcoming year
  • Schedule interviews with other professionals (this can be helpful for learning new information and gaining new listeners)
  • Hire a designer for your cover art
  • Choose your intro music and/or professional intro
  • Get decent recording equipment
  • Hire a sound engineer to edit your episodes or download a DYI software
  • Create social media accounts for your podcast
  • Create a website for your podcast 
  • Figure out what podcast platforms will host yours
  • Market your podcast at networking events and by giving professional talks

At the end of the day, you can’t get caught up worrying about how many people are listening to or following your podcast, whether it’s tens of thousands or just a few hundred. What matters is the impact that your podcast has on your listeners. You have the power to truly change people’s lives for the better.

Medical professionals may also want to consider using disclaimers on their podcasts. For example, at the start of every episode, some providers explicitly explain that the podcast is not a substitute for therapy or professional help. You may even want to provide some free resources for your listeners in case they need additional support because, ultimately, your listeners’ safety, health, and healing are the most important. 


  1. Statista. (2023). U.S. Podcasting Industry - statistics & facts.
  2. Little, A., Hampton, Z., Gronowski, T., Meyer, C., & Kalnow, A. (2020). Podcasting in Medicine: A Review of the Current Content by Specialty. Cureus, 12(1), e6726.