The 5 Most Popular Podcasts from Data Book's First Year

Jack Murtha
JANUARY 02, 2019
data book,data book podcast,health tech podcast

We came up with the idea for Data Book nearly a year ago. We wanted this experiment to yield the best podcast in health tech — an engaging blend of KOL insights, storytelling, humor, original music and off-the-news coverage. So far, we have two seasons and 26 episodes behind us. But how do know that anything that Data Book has done actually resonated with listeners?

Health-tech podcasts might never hit the top of the iTunes charts, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be good. Who says a health-tech podcast can’t be educational and entertaining? Why can’t Data Book and its industry competitors vie with mainstream shows for your attention?

>> READ: The Job Market for Pharmacists Is Rapidly Changing, and It's Not Because of Silicon Valley

Those ideas guided — and continue to guide — me and my co-host, Tom Castles, as we brainstormed, wrote, produced, tweaked and re-tweaked Data Book. It was all about quality, and our commitment to high standards sparked several Twitter chats (thanks, #HTReads), blog responses and impassioned pitches from health-tech insiders. So, while it might be difficult to say who produces the best podcast in health tech, we’re certainly happy with the direction in which Data Book is headed.

In the age of analytics, however, there is a way beyond subjective quality to measure success: metrics. After Data Book’s second season ended last month, we opened our analytics dashboards to determine which episodes enticed the most listeners, for the longest amount of time. These kinds of benchmarks aren’t perfect, but they do provide new and returning listeners alike a strong place to slide into Data Book.

So, without further ado, here are the five most-listened-to episodes from Data Book’s first two seasons.

5. Is Anyone Obligated to Incite Healthcare Innovation?

It’s December 1982, and a blizzard is pounding Salt Lake City, Utah. But the bad weather isn’t the story of the city — it’s a single medical procedure. Surgeons are about to take an artificial heart developed by Robert Jarvik, M.D., and place it inside a human. It would be the first permanent artificial heart.

But as much as this episode of Data Book focuses on the Jarvik story, it explores who gets to innovate in healthcare and who should be driving innovations. Are visionaries born? Or are they developed at university, in the clinic or elsewhere?

Our expert panel — Kevin Campbell, M.D., Geeta Nayyar, M.D., John Nosta, Jane Sarasohn-Kahn and Colin Hung — follows this story with a discussion on how healthcare providers themselves must advance the digital transformation.

4. How Analytics Changed Casinos & Could Change Healthcare

When serial entrepreneur Sunny Tara entered health tech, it seemed like a major departure from his past life. He had spent years working on the technology end of the casino industry, helping to breed customer loyalty inside gaming groups like Harrah’s and Caesars. But Tara realized that he had learned a thing or two about breeding loyalty, and after a family medical issue, he decided to bring those lessons to healthcare organizations and patients.

Now, Tara’s ideas manifest in the health-tech startup CareCognitics. He also founded and sold a physician network called docBeat.

On this episode of Data Book, we speak with Tara and harvest insights for health systems that want to improve patient experience and loyalty. It’s an engaging look at what is and what could be. But we also tell the story of the Total Rewards program, illustrating just how much value a loyalty initiative can add to an organization.

3. Implementing AI Is Simpler Than You Think

Writer and strategic management expert Joshua Gans joined this episode to simplify artificial intelligence. While the technical groundwork of AI is indeed anything but simple, the basic concepts behind these game-changing algorithms can be grasped. Even by healthcare leaders who shudder when they hear or read those two dreaded vowels.

Still don’t believe me? Well, before we get to the Gans interview, this Data Book episode brings you to two hospitals that are using AI in important ways that affect outcomes, finances and efficiencies. The technologies and systems used to accomplish these goals are, no doubt, complex and diverse. But they suggest that AI is attainable — and that it is achieving real, tangible successes.

2. The Slow, Frustrating Rise of the Electronic Health Record

Electronic health record (EHR) adoption has been in the works for quite some time, finally snowballing with the HITECH Act. But what have EHRs actually done for healthcare — for patients — in a landscape with very little interoperability?

We kick off this episode by telling a story from Seema Verma, MPH, who heads the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. While traveling, her husband collapsed in an airport, sending him to an unfamiliar hospital far from his home state. But did Verma, even with her power, manage to obtain a copy of his medical records from the stay?

Eventually, we pivot to a not-so-funny story from health-tech KOL Janae Sharp, who was forced to pose as an anti-vaxxer after a lack of interoperability failed her family. Along the way, Tom and I detail the history of the EHR, detailing the promise, potential and pain of a technology that just isn’t where it needs to be.

1. The Gene-Editing Company That Didn’t Need CRISPR

When Sangamo Therapeutics signed a $3 billion deal with Gilead last year, we were in a unique position, as we had just published a deep, enthralling dive into the gene-editing company and its technology. The story was irresistible: When people think of gene editing, they think of CRISPR. So, why was Sangamo getting the big payday? Thanks to our freelance writer Danny Funt, we had the answer.

As such, we invited Funt to this early episode of Data Book to discuss Sangamo, gene editing and precision medicine. But before that, we told the story of CRISPR — where it came from, the people and organisms behind the tech and what it could mean for the future. Together, each segment painted a picture of a field that could transform healthcare far beyond anything we might imagine today.

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