Background: The 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic drastically reduced learning opportunities for medical students. We sought to determine the cost and success of implementation of a podcast for a surgical department in a large academic hospital. Methods: We created a podcast series for Israeli medical students during the COVID-19 epidemic based on the Medical Student Core Curriculum of the American College of Surgeons / Association for Surgical Education. Episodes were available for free download or streaming on a designated website and popular podcast platforms. Podcast analytics were used to measure public listeners and uptake. Results: Total development time was 90 hours at an estimated cost of $7091 USD. A total of 10 episodes were released between March 21, 2020 and August 31, 2020. An average of 9 ± 1.26 h (range 2-6) was required to generate each episode, including 3.4 ± 1.26 h (2-6) for content review and 5.6 ± 2 h (4-10) for audio production. An average episode ran for 35.9 ± 4.3 min (28-42). Podcasts recorded a total of 5678 downloads, with an average of 228 and 336 downloads per episode in the first 30 and 90 days, respectively. The average daily downloads before the students returned to clinical rotations (March 21-April 30) was 48 ± 58.3 (7-283;) compared to 16 ± 7.4 after their return (1-38; P< 0.01). Estimated costs to produce a video-based education series would have been significantly more. Conclusion: Podcasts can serve as a cost-effective and quickly produced instructional tool to supplement online learning. Further research is required to determine the efficacy of podcasts versus video-based education modules.
- Medical students