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May 4, 2021

HQC-recommended quality improvement podcasts for on-the-go improvement leaders

HQC Staff
Reading Time

Time is a limited resource. Many of us are busy, always on the go, and might not have the time to read about the latest in quality improvement or how to improve our leadership skills.

If that sounds like you, we may have something for you to Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) that will help you consume more quality improvement content in your life: podcasts! We have rounded up what we think are some great podcasts that you can use to flex your thinking muscles while on the go on the topics of quality improvement, leadership, the determinants of health, and patient safety.

Table of Contents

Quality Improvement-focused podcasts

WIHI – A Podcast from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

Available on: Website, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, PodBean

What it is: WIHI is an exciting “talk show” program from IHI hosted by Madge Kaplan, IHI’s Director of Communication. It’s free, it’s timely (even though it was discontinued in 2020), and it’s designed to help dedicated legions of health and health care improvers worldwide keep up with some of the freshest and most robust thinking and strategies for improving health and patient care.

Who it is by: Institute of Healthcare Improvement (IHI)

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: WIHI retired in March 2020 after 11 years but there is a lot of great information for health and health care improvers worldwide with robust thinking and strategies for improving health and patient care. The format of WIHI is a 60-minute live program with a host and three to four carefully chosen guests, plus an opportunity for listeners to ask questions and share comments.

KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast

Available on: Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn

What it is: The KaiNexus Continuous Improvement Podcast features content about continuous improvement best practices, employee engagement, lean, six sigma (and related improvement disciplines) and more. The podcast explores the nuances of creating a culture of continuous improvement, no matter the level of expertise or industry.

Who it is by: KaiNexus

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: If you are looking for a podcast to listen on your daily commute, look no further. With new episodes almost daily, you will have plenty to learn on the go. They do a great job of bringing thought leaders for a good variety and there is a lot of knowledge passed on in each episode. This podcast is relevant for continuous improvement leaders of all stages.

Gemba Academy Podcast

Available on: Website, YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify

What it is: Gemba Academy is a podcast focused on lean thinking, Toyota Kata, leadership, and productivity.

Who it is by: Ron Pereira: Lean Thinker & Co-Founder of Gemba Academy

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: With new episodes released each Thursday, there is plenty of content where you can learn about lean. This podcast focuses on the “lean” movement in particular. It’s great for established practitioners or those just getting started on their journey to learn from lean practitioners across the world from various disciplines. There is a wide variety of guests on the show and the content is always fresh.

The Lean Blog – Interviews

Available on: Website, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify

What it is: The Lean Blog – Interviews is Mark Graban’s original podcast series which he started in 2006 to host news, commentary, and discussion about lean – the methodology and management system based on the Toyota Production System. The podcast and blog has evolved in parallel with Mark’s career – focusing at first on Lean Management in the manufacturing world, but focusing more on healthcare over time after Mark moved into that industry in late 2005

Who it is by: Mark Graban

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: Not only has mark been in the blogging and podcast-sphere for many years now, Mark is well-versed in lean management, continuous improvement, statistical methods, and people-centered leadership approaches. In the podcast, Mark interviews a wide variety thought leaders across many different disciplines. No matter the expert being interviewed, there are always interesting insights and learning to bring back to your own quality improvement practice. If you like this podcast from Mark, he has a few others including: Lean Blog Audio, My Favorite Mistake, and Habitual Excellence.    


Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify

What it is: WLEI features stories from lean thought leaders, lean practitioners, and adjacent communities in various industries on many topics such as problem solving, coaching, leadership, meaningful work and more.

Who it is by: The Lean Enterprise Institute

Number of episodes: 50+

Why we like it: This podcast series offers listeners a fantastic opportunity to hear from lean thought leaders and practitioners on many topics relating to coaching, leadership, and problem solving. It’s great way to learn more about what’s happening in various industries while on the go! Episodes are about 40 minutes in length in which could accompany you on a walk, workout, or commute.

The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcas‪t

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts

What it is: The W. Edwards Deming Institute® Podcas‪t features interviews with members of The Deming Institute community, including industry leaders, practitioners, educators, Deming family members and others who share their stories of transformation and success through the innovative management and quality theories of Dr. W. Edwards Deming.

Who it is by: The W. Edwards Deming Institute

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: The content, guests, and host are informative and insightful. With many of the podcast in this series being less than 15 minutes long, it’s a great way to build bite-sized learnings into your everyday. If you like theories and concepts, the show gets into those as well as the interpretation of wide-ranging aspects and implications of Dr. Demin’s theory of management.

Leadership-focused podcasts

Coaching Real Leaders

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

What it is: Real-life coaching sessions with leaders working to overcome professional challenges. This podcast series is hosted by Muriel Wilkins, co-founder of Paravis Partners and co-author of Own The Room. Wilkens is a leadership coach with a strong track record of helping CEOs and senior leaders take their effectiveness to the next level.

Who it is by: Harvard Business Review

Number of episodes: 8

Why we like it: This is an excellent resource to use to learn about what leadership coaching us and how it can help you. This podcast offers a unique perspective on the coaching experience and allows you to explore the challenges and solutions facing leaders everyday.

How To Be A Better Human

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify

What it is: How To Be A Better Human isn’t your average self improvement podcast. Each week join Chris Duffy in conversation with guests and past speakers as they uncover sharp insights and give clear takeaways on how YOU can be a better human. From your work to your home and your head to your heart, How To Be a Better Human looks in unexpected places for new ways to improve and show up for one another. Inspired by the popular series of the same name on TED’s Ideas blog, How to Be a Better Human will help you become a better person from the comfort of your own headphones.

Who it is by: TED

Number of episodes: 8

Why we like it: This podcast is definitely worth listening to if you’re looking to hear new ideas and perspectives. Each episode offers practical tips that help reduce stress and build resiliency.

Creative Confidence Podcasts

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, SoundCloud, Spotify

What it is: The IDEO U Creative Confidence Podcast hosts candid conversations with some of today’s most inspiring change makers, design thinkers, and creative minds. IDEO Partners and IDEO U leaders Suzanne Gibbs Howard and Coe Leta Stafford speak with guests about their approach to leadership, creativity, innovation, and growth. Get insight into their success through personal stories and real-world examples, and learn how to bring a human-centered approach to your own work.

Who it is by: IDEO U

Number of episodes: 80+

Why we like it: This is a great resource if you’re looking to get some inspiration and practical tips for your work life. Are you looking to think outside the box and learn from impactful people across industries? Well, look no further!

Dear HBR:

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify

What it is: Work can be frustrating. How can you get along with that maddening coworker? Figure out what your unapproachable boss really wants? Motivate your demoralized team? “Dear HBR:” is here to help. With empathy, experience, and humor, veteran Harvard Business Review editors and co-hosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn explore solutions to your workplace dilemmas. Bolstered by insights from guests and academic research, they help you navigate thorny situations to find a better way forward.

Who it is by: Harvard Business Review

Number of episodes: 80+

Why we like it: With the back-and-forth banter with actionable advice, this podcast gives great advice and insights on important topics in the workplace. A must-listen if you’re not looking for a one-size-fits-all solution! (It’s like Dear Abby for the work world. )

Leadership Strategies for Tomorrow’s Leaders Podcast with Mike Lejeune

Available on: Website, Deezer, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube

What it is: The show for leaders who care about having an engaged, purpose-driven workforce. Gallop surveys show that in today’s economy 75% of the workforce feels disengaged. Learn from Interviews with industry leaders who understand the importance of how engaged employees impact culture, drive productivity and ignite their teams,

Who it is by: Lighting the Path

Number of episodes: 20

Why we like it: This series is designed to help with leadership effectiveness, employee engagement and retention, improve emotional intelligence and help you shape corporate culture and communication. It’s a one-stop shop for leadership insights.

Health care-focused podcasts

The Healthcare QualityCast

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify

What it is: The Healthcare QualityCast is an audio podcast spotlighting today’s most exciting and inspiring quality professionals within the healthcare industry. In our podcast we dive into the career journeys of leaders that work daily to improve quality, safety, and service outcomes for patients, their family members, and their communities at large. Our mission is to provide motivation and direction to our listeners, encouraging you all to continue your efforts in improving the overall quality of healthcare.

Who it is by: The Quality Coaching Company

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: This is a must for leaders in healthcare. While there are many lean and quality health care podcasts out there, this informative series does a great job of connecting with innovators in the field of health care process improvement and quality improvement.

White Coat, Black Art

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts

What it is: CBC Radio’s Dr. Brian Goldman takes listeners through the swinging doors of hospitals and doctors’ offices, behind the curtain where the gurney lies.

Who it is by: CBC

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: Interesting and informative, this podcast gives you a chance to hear what happens behind the curtain. Listening to this podcast will give you the chance to hear the opinions of those working on the front lines of health and hear them talk about challenges that the system faces.

2 Docs Talk

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher

What it is: Join cohosts Kendall Britt, MD and Amy Rogers, MD for a 15-minute check-up on current issues in medicine and health policy. The doctors examine current medical concerns in light of the best available medical evidence and the policy issues of the day with a focus on their impact on the doctor patient relationship. Dr. Britt and Dr. Rogers talk about the topics that they want healthcare consumers to understand so they are better equipped to actively partner with their own physicians to make the best decisions for their own health.

Who it is by:2 Docs Talk

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: Short and to the point, 2 Docs Talks digs into health news, summarizes evidence and offers great resources to listeners. This podcast makes it fun and easy to learn more about health and medicine.

JAMA Medical News

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Pocket Casts

What it is: Discussions of timely topics in clinical medicine, biomedical sciences, public health, and health policy.

Who it is by: JAMA Network

Number of episodes: 90+

Why we like it: This is a great resource if you’re looking to listen in on timely and engaging discussions about advancements in clinical research, public health, health policy and more!

Patient safety-focused podcasts

PSQH: The Podcast

Available on: Website, SoundCloud, Apple Podcasts

What it is: Join PSQH Editor-in-Chief Jay Kumar every other Friday for PSQH: The Podcast, a bi-weekly podcast covering the hottest topics in patient safety and quality. During each PSQH: The Podcast episode, Jay Kumar chats with a special guest including industry leaders, PSQH advisory board members, and subject matter experts. The mission of PSQH: The Podcast is to provide clear, relevant, actionable information on topics that matter to patient safety and quality professionals in podcast form through engaging and insightful interviews with experts and thought leaders.

Who it is by: Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare

Number of episodes: 20+

Why we like it: These 30-minute episodes will keep improvement leaders entertained and up-to-date on relevant topics such as COVID-19, patient experiences, infection prevention and more. We definitely recommend!

PATIENT Podcast Series

Available on: Website, iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud

What it is: PATIENT podcast is a non-fiction medical drama through the eyes of the patient. Every thirteen minutes someone in our country will die due to medical error. PATIENT is a show about the people trying to change that system. It’s a deep dive into the emerging field of patient safety, where medicine, design, and politics converge. 

Who it is by: Canadian Patient Safety Institute

Number of episodes: 10+

Why we like it: Fun and engaging, this podcast is geared to everyone from patients and clients, to health care providers, educators, and administrators. This podcast is a must if you’re looking at hearing about patient safety in a respectful and meaningful way.

Matters of Engagement

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, iHeartRADIO

What it is: There’s a lot of enthusiasm for patient engagement and partnership right now, but not a lot of opportunities for more nuanced or critical dialogue about what may *really* be happening, or not happening at all. The podcasting format is an ideal vehicle to host conversations and reflections that we think may shed more light on why some issues continue to be difficult or confounding. The goals for each episode are slightly different – perhaps to further a conversation already being had, or to give name to experiences that are hard to describe, or to draw on research and theory to attempt to explain why things are the way they are.

Who it is by: Matters of Engagement

Number of episodes: 20+

Why we like it: Wanting to hear from patient partners, researchers, academics and engagement professionals? This podcast has it all! The hosts – Jennifer and Emily – provide a nice mix of interviews, narration, and presentations of existing research papers and opinion pieces.

Empowered Patient Podcast

Available on: Website, Deezer, Apple Podcasts, TuneIn, Stitcher, Google Play

What it is: Empowered Patient Podcast with Karen Jagoda is a window into the latest innovations in digital health, the changing dynamic between doctors and patients, and the emergence of precision medicine. The show covers such topics as aging in place, innovative uses for wearables and sensors, advances in clinical research, applied genetics, drug development, and challenges for connected health entrepreneurs.

Who it is by: Empowered Patient Podcast

Number of episodes: 100+

Why we like it: This is a great podcast for any patient! The host asks thoughtful questions of her guests in this short, succinct, and relevant podcast. This is a great resource for those who are trying to become more informed about the health care system.

Determinants of health-focused podcasts

Public Health Perspectives Podcast

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud

What it is: Public Health Perspectives is a podcast series targeted towards strengthening the future public health workforce. In this podcast, they explore the narratives of public health care professionals and gain insight on career paths that shape the profession. 

Who it is by: Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Number of episodes: 20

Why we like it: Relevant and timely, this podcast series give you quick, digestible content about emerging topics relating to public health.

Good Health, Better World

Available on: Website, Spotify, Deezer, Apple Podcasts

What it is: Stronger communities begin with good health — for everyone. Some people are more likely to develop chronic health conditions, simply because of where they live, their economic status, their level of education, and even ready access to grocery stores. These factors — and underlying inequities — influence the decisions people can make which may lead to life-altering consequences regarding their health. Experts recognize this set of factors with a name: social determinants of health. The World Health Organization defines social determinants as the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age, and how these circumstances are shaped by the distribution of resources.  The Good Health, Better World podcast sponsored by UPMC Health Plan brings experts together to discuss some of healthcare’s most important (and often challenging) topics.

Who it is by: Postindustrial

Number of episodes: 10+

Why we like it: With the first episode airing in December 2020, this exciting podcast has already piqued our interest with their relevant posts and we’re excited to hear more from them.

A Health Podyssey

Available on: Website, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify, Google Podcasts

What it is: Each week, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil brings you in-depth conversations with leading researchers and influencers shaping the big ideas in health policy and the health care industry. Learn how academics and economists frame their research questions and journey to the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Health policy nerds rejoice! This podcast is for you.

Who it is by: Health Podcast Network

Number of episodes: 20+

Why we like it: This podcast goes beyond the pages of health policy to tell the meaningful stories behind the research and shares the policy implications.

Did we miss any podcasts? Let us know!

And there you have it! This collection of podcasts will certainly give you one more way to learn about system improvements, leadership, and more while you try to fit more professional development and learning into your busy lives! We know there are many fantastic, informative podcasts out there, with more and more popping up everyday.

This is not an exhaustive list and we hope that you can help us grow it by sharing with us your favourite quality improvement-related podcasts. Which ones are you listening to or simply can’t miss that we should add to our list for our fellow improvement community? Please let us know!