Podcasts I Enjoyed Listening To This Year

“Podcasting might be thought of as a form of academic gift.”

Les Back, Professor of Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London
Image Credit: Shutterstock.com

Last week I shared a list of some of my favorite books this year. Since podcasting has become an important channel for information sharing and learning, I thought I’d add a list of my favorite podcasts in health care and technology for your consideration. But first, some recent stats on the popularity of podcasts in general.

Ross Winn shared some interesting statistics for 2021 on his Podcast Insights website. There are currently over 2 Million podcasts available, with over 48 million episodes as of this writing. 55% (155 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 51% in 2019. Podcast listeners listen to an average of 7 different shows per week, up from 5 in 2017. 80% listen to all or most of each episode, down from 86% in 2017. Podcast listeners are much more active on every social media channel (94% are active on at least one – vs. 81% for everyone).

So, with so many options to choose from, how do you select ones to listen to regularly? My first criteria are the credentials of the host. I want respected professionals in the field, not someone who’s doing this as a sideline. Second, I look at the quality of the guests on the podcast. Can the host attract excellent guests every episode? Finally, I look at the topics being discussed. Are they interesting? Do they add credible information to the conversation, or are they simply a rehashing of what’s already out there? So, with those as my guideposts, here are my favorite podcasts for 2021:


Sg2 Perspectives – OK, I’m admitting my bias right up front. I enjoy the episodes my former colleagues at Sg2 post weekly. I get to continue to learn from Sg2 experts and member health system executives on a wide range of topics.


Creating a New Healthcare with Zeev Neuwirth, M.D. – An award-winning and internationally recognized bi-weekly interview series for leaders interested in comprehending, connecting with, and contributing to the consumer-oriented, value-based transformation of healthcare. Dr. Neuwirth and his guests hit the mark in every episode. His guest list is impressive, and the topics he covers are critical for success in today’s dynamic health care environment. In addition to his podcast series, you might want to grab a copy of his book Reframing Healthcare: A Roadmap For Creating Disruptive Change. It’s a fantastic read.


Fixing Healthcare with Robert Pearl, M.D. & Jeremy Corr – Fixing Healthcare is a “podcast with a plan” to solve the American healthcare system’s biggest problems. Launched in August 2018, this monthly show is a co-production of Dr. Robert Pearl and Jeremy Corr. Fixing Healthcare is currently in its sixth season. This time around, they are flipping the show’s format on its head. Instead of asking each guest for a plan to fix the entire healthcare system, they’re going vertical and deep—searching for solutions from those who represent the system’s various parts. You’ll hear from those who lead and represent doctors, nurses, insurers, drug companies, hospitals, entrepreneurs, and others. In addition to the podcast, you might want to check out Dr. Pearl’s latest book: Uncaring: How the Culture of Medicine Kills Doctors and Patients. It’s a sobering look inside the culture of healthcare.


Device Talks Weekly – The DeviceTalks Weekly Podcast series delivers news, insights, and commentary from Medtech industry leaders. Their podcasts are intended to inspire MedTech professionals to create better MedTech devices and companies. I had the opportunity to be a guest on this podcast series and enjoyed talking with Tom Salemi, one of their hosts. Timely information and insight for the MedTech community.


In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt – By now, you probably see a pattern here. A lot of my book recommendation authors have jumped into podcasting too. So, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that I’d be interested in listening to their podcasts. Andy Slavitt, President Biden’s Senior Advisor on COVID-19, is back from the White House to his chair on the award-winning In the Bubble podcast. This show is an insider’s guide for getting closure on what has happened throughout the pandemic so far, how we emerge, and what must come next. Special guests include leaders we rarely get to see drop their guard the way they do on this podcast. Andy gives listeners information and inspiration from his bubble every Monday and Wednesday.


Sway with Kara Swisher – Power unpacked. “Sway” is an interview show hosted by Kara Swisher, “Silicon Valley’s most feared and well-liked journalist.” Now taking on Washington, Hollywood, and the world, Kara investigates power: who has it, who’s been denied it, and who dares to defy it. Every Monday and Thursday. I’m a huge Kara Swisher fan. I love the way she holds tech giants’ feet to the fire and makes them squirm in the big red chair. Tough but fair, Kara covers all the critical tech issues you need to understand.


Pivot, hosted by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway – Did I mention that I’m a big fan of Kata Swisher? So what could be better than one podcast? How about two podcasts featuring her! Every Tuesday and Friday, Kara and NYU Professor Scott Galloway offer sharp, unfiltered insights into the biggest stories in tech, business, and politics. They make bold predictions, pick winners and losers, and bicker and banter like no one else. Putting these two together is golden.


So, those are my top seven podcasts for the year. I hope you find one or more of them interesting and informative. If you have a favorite health care or tech podcast that I’ve missed, drop a comment below and let me know what you’re listening to these days. Thanks for reading!

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