Healthcare systems in this country have been described as “complex,” and some say they are fraught with problems. As a result, health and patient advocacy are crucially important. The good news is that podcasts have been playing a major role in ensuring people are clear on their next steps for diagnosis, treatment, and/or healing.
Vulnerable patients—individuals who are in the low-income bracket, face language barriers, or have disabilities or cognitive challenges—are more susceptible to neglect and bias in the context of a pandemic that is leaving healthcare professionals overworked and frazzled. In addition, if visitation at a healthcare facility is restricted, some of those who are seeking a medical examination or treatment may feel alone, and in some cases, voiceless.
Podcasters are uniquely positioned to reach those who face these challenges, and doing so may spur on others to come to the aid of vulnerable groups. Here are three examples of podcasts that have been doing great work in this area:
The Noggin Podcast
Those who find it difficult to articulate what they are feeling may not get the help they truly need. The Noggin Podcast helps to empower individuals who have mental health challenges and equips them to find readily accessible solutions.
Host Kyarra Keele often reveals valuable underrated resources to combat loneliness, such as her favorite relatable podcasts and comforting YouTube videos about human connection. She also talks about free mental health support groups, camaraderie among those who love gardening, inclusive virtual clubs, and community spaces for people of color, in addition to text- and chat-based peer-support warmlines, which provide an ear for those who need someone to listen. There is also a special emphasis on work-related mental health and loneliness support for veterans and members of the LGBTQ community.
Not only is the dialogue on this show raw and honest, but listeners also learn about the free empowering mental health apps and chat rooms Kyarra herself uses and recommends. This podcast can be a great companion for anyone on a mental health journey.
Out of Patients with Matthew Zachary
Matthew Zachary, award-winning host of the Out of Patients podcast, is a cancer survivor of over 25 years and the CEO and Co-Founder of OffScrip Health. As stated in Apple’s description of the show, “He also founded Stupid Cancer and created the first health podcast, The Stupid Cancer Show, which amassed a global listenership of over four million downloads and counting. People Magazine calls him ‘the people’s voice’ in healthcare.”
He describes his show as “the definitive no-BS podcast about how to make healthcare suck less.” Matthew and his guests put a humorous spin on breaking down medical jargon and speaking in a straightforward manner about health challenges and what we can all do to make them better.
Topics range from letting patient experiences drive medical innovation to surviving a “WTF” whirlwind of health problems. Empathy and creative problem-solving for patients are a recurring theme in each episode.
Advocates in Action
If you’ve ever felt intimidated, confused, or overwhelmed as you try to navigate the healthcare system, the Advocates in Action podcast is designed to help you. Host Ashley Danyel Freeman helps you advocate for yourself and those you care about in difficult moments. She speaks with patients, providers, and caregivers who have found the strength to advocate for equitable access to affordable quality healthcare. Advocates in Action also features conversations with hospital and health-system leaders on a variety of issues that impact patients and communities.
This show was created by the National Patient Advocate Foundation, a non-profit with the objective of prioritizing the patient voice to achieve person-centered care. They are dedicated to amplifying the powerful stories of individuals and the collective needs of various communities across the country.
These podcasts, and others covering similar topics, are doing an important service. They educate and share a variety of patients’ voices and perspectives. They play a critical role in ensuring that, should we face potential illness, we can be equipped to get the care that can help us overcome our health challenges. Kudos to them all.
February 2022 Issue