Quality of Trauma Surgery Podcasts in Credibility, Content, and Design

JAMA Netw Open. 2024 Jun 3;7(6):e2415636. doi: 10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2024.15636.


Importance: There has been an emerging trend of podcast use in medical education over the past decade. With the increasing number of podcasts and learners' interest in trauma surgery, it is vital to validate the quality of these podcasts.

Objective: To determine the quantity and quality of podcast episodes on trauma surgery.

Design, setting, and participants: This cross-sectional study identified trauma surgery podcasts published globally on the Google, Apple, and Spotify platforms as of May 31, 2023. An initial screening excluded podcasts not fulfilling the inclusion criteria (published as of May 31, 2023, and covering clinical knowledge or mentorship on general trauma surgery). A 10-item checklist developed from a modified Delphi consensus method was created to assess the podcasts' credibility, content, and design as indicators of quality. Data extracted from each podcast episode included the duration, setting, host and guest credentials, and fulfillment of quality indicators. Data were analyzed on August 13, 2023.

Main outcomes and measures: The quality of each podcast was assessed using the 10-question checklist. A score of at least 80% in credibility (4 of 5 points), 75% in content (3 of 4 points), and 100% in design (1 of 1 point) was required to classify a podcast episode as having good quality.

Results: The initial search identified 204 podcasts on trauma surgery, of which 55 podcasts met the inclusion criteria. All 55 podcasts were published after 2014, with the majority hosted by males (85% [61 of 72 hosts]), based in the US (91% [50 of 55 podcasts]), and focused on clinical knowledge (80% [44 of 55 podcasts]). Podcast hosts and guests predominantly held a Doctor of Medicine degree (83% [113 of 136]), with 72% [46 of 64] of guests identifying as practicing trauma surgeons. While all 55 podcasts had excellent quality in terms of content and design, 20% (11 of 55) of podcasts were rated poorly on credibility. Credibility was further reduced for 60% (33 of 55) of podcasts because of nondisclosure of conflicts of interest.

Conclusions and relevance: In this cross-sectional study of trauma surgery podcasts, most had good-quality content and design, but there was a lack of explicit conflict of interest disclosure. Content producers need to disclose their conflicts of interest appropriately to ensure credibility and improve the quality of their podcasts.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Care Surgery
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Delphi Technique
  • Humans
  • Traumatology* / education
  • Traumatology* / standards
  • Webcasts as Topic*