The creator of ENT Expert Opinion, Dr Niall Jefferson, was in the midst of his surgical training in Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery in Australia in 2012. In contemplating his upcoming Fellowship exams, he began to seek out resources that he could use to study, particularly during his daily commute. At the time, the lecture-based Audiodigest audio files were available but the sound quality varied and they were expensive to subscribe to. He also enjoyed the AAHNOS podcasts hosted by Professor Richard Rosenfeld but these were limited to articles published in the American Academy’s journal.
He considered the idea of recording himself reading his own notes or book chapters to playback while driving but realised he was surrounded by highly qualified ENT surgeons, particularly at his weekly ENT teaching sessions. It was then that the idea of interviewing a few of them on their specific areas of interest began to develop. He mentioned the idea to his wife Kenna, who told him that if he could conduct and record the interviews, she would figure out how to release them onto the internet as a resource for anyone to use. From this, ENT Expert Opinion was born.
The format for the interviews was established and Niall looked to recruit interested colleagues to participate in the interviews. Dr Dan Robinson joined initially, and was later joined by Dr Nicholas Jufas. In the past three years they have conducted over 35 interviews which are available to download for free on iTunes and Stitcher. The goal of each interview is to recognise the important principals of a topic, which range from disease processes to intervention. The primary aim is to give the listener, who may be a medical student, resident, consultant, or even a patient, an insight into the nuances identified by experts in the field. Interviews have covered varying topics such as:
- Airway balloon dilatation (Prof Michael Rutter)
- Surgical management of adult sleep apnea (A/Prof Stuart MacKay)
- Thyroglossal duct remnants (A/Prof Jeffrey Koempel)
- Non-pulsatile tinnitus (Prof Michael Seidman)
- Endoscopic ear surgery (Prof Daniele Marchioni)
The podcasts have been downloaded over 22,000 times with over 1,100 unique downloads every month. The audience spans over 35 countries with the majority of listeners residing in the USA, Canada and Australia. The success of the project and the feedback received to date over Twitter and through the website has been overwhelming. To date, the three most accessed interviews are:
- Allergic rhinitis (A/Prof Richard Harvey)
- Understanding paediatric audiology (Melisha Sirisena)
- The facial nerve (A/Prof Glen Croxson).
The team is currently looking to expand, with future directions looking toward a dedicated podcast series for medical students, to complement the information currently covered in the curriculum. In addition to this, there are future dedicated series planned for emergency ENT, covering the most common emergency ENT topics and their contemporary management, as well as a speech pathology series, focusing the discussion on a directed range of topics. The team works through ideas for topics, through brainstorming or received proposals, and creates relevant questions to the topic by evaluating the current literature. Finally, the team sources an expert on the topic – one that is experienced, well published and able to deliver the key aspects of the topic to engage the listener.
The podcast series has been a learning experience for the whole team. All the interviewers have been struck by the “nuggets of gold” that come from discussion with the expert. One of the real highlights has been the “final word”, a concept borrowed from the AAO podcasts performed by Professor Rosenfeld. This provides an opportunity to highlight a part of the discussion that really goes to the heart of the topic or to cover something not included over the course of the interview. This has certainly helped to crystalise many of the interviewees’ core messages.
The future is exciting for the series. There is an endless number of topics to cover, and in the coming years there will be the need to perform updates on many already covered due to the ever changing advancement of disease understanding.
ENT Expert Opinion continue to welcome any and all suggestions and collaboration, as well as expressions of interest in becoming involved in the project to ensure its longevity.
The team can be reached at:-
This Tech Review was guest written by Niall Jefferson, FRACS (OHNS), Nicholas Jufas FRACS (OHNS) and Kenna Jefferson of the ENT Expert Opinion team.