In this interview, News-Medical talks to Vicki Chan MD about her background in ophthalmology and how the doctor’s social media success has helped contribute to a new period of on-line healthcare schooling.
Please are you able to introduce your self, and inform us about your background in drugs and your profession as an ophthalmologist?
My identify is Vicki Chan and I’m an ophthalmologist/glaucoma specialist in Southern California. I’ve at all times wished to be a physician, (I credit score that to my father who’s an anesthesiologist. I keep in mind hanging out with him within the physician’s lounge once I was younger) a lot so I used to be a part of the straight Bacc/MD program at USC (University of Southern California). It was one of many few applications that allowed college students to use out, so I took the chance to move east and attend Johns Hopkins for medical faculty and got here again house to UCLA for residency and fellowship.
Since commencement, I’ve had a number of jobs – at a college, as a part of personal follow, and at the moment working per diem in a managed care system. I really like what I do, but additionally love the flexibleness to help/spend time with my household in addition to do the issues I really like – like on-line advertising and constructing a presence on social media to coach, encourage, and humanize the medical journey.
The position of an ophthalmologist is to deal with and forestall issues and illnesses of the attention. Why did you select to specialise in ophthalmology, and what’s your favourite a part of working inside this subject of healthcare?
To be utterly trustworthy, ophthalmology was not on my radar once I began medical faculty. My father is an anesthesiologist and the tales he would inform me concerning the surgeons make me imagine that I may “by no means” be a surgeon – I assumed I might go into cardiology. But once I rotated by way of surgical procedure throughout my third yr in medical faculty, I fell in love with it – I beloved the concept of working with my fingers and “fixing” issues in real-time. However, I additionally loved connecting and working with sufferers within the scientific setting as effectively.
So I started a seek for a specialty that may give me a little bit of each surgical procedure/procedures and drugs/scientific care. My record was quick (included specialties like ophtho, ENT, and ER), and I rapidly arrange sub-Is so I may expertise them for myself. When I hit the ophthalmology division, I fell in love. The attendings have been so good – immersed in cutting-edge analysis and floating between clinic and ORs. And one of the best half? Many had households and lives exterior of medication! (Because one of many perks of ophthalmology is that there are few life-threatening emergencies, so their schedules have been busy however fairly versatile).
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In addition to your work within the medical subject, your TikTookay account at the moment sits at over 400 thousand followers, with over 20 million mixed likes. What is the backstory behind posting your first TikTookay, and what message surrounding healthcare do you hope to share by way of your movies?
I began posting on Tiktok on 11/2019, and it actually began off as one thing only for enjoyable (a lot of my early movies have been foolish dancing ones with my youngsters). But I rapidly realized how many individuals have been on the app – searching for encouragement (many individuals linked with tales from once I was nonetheless at school or assembly my husband), inspiration (a few of my hottest movies have been about my insecurities and/or obstacles I needed to face throughout coaching and as doctor/mom), and info (when the pandemic hit, folks appeared to understand my movies about masking and COVID).
I actually need folks to appreciate that docs are people too – we undergo difficulties, have struggles, and need this pandemic to finish too. I additionally need younger college students and docs to know that there IS life exterior of medication. Being a doctor is a true calling, nevertheless it’s not a be-all end-all (if you don’t need it to be).
As effectively as posting content material about your profession as an ophthalmologist, you usually put up movies to your social media that separate medical truths from myths. Why is it vital for specialists to name out medical misinformation on-line?
Like most of us in drugs, I wished to turn out to be a physician to assist others. I spend time within the clinic with sufferers, answering questions and educating them about illness processes and therapy choices. But, occasions are altering, and whether or not we prefer it or not, extra and extra persons are getting their info on-line.
When the pandemic hit, I used to be shocked to see how a lot misinformation was on-line and on social media. I noticed that if docs and healthcare professionals did not step to battle this misinformation and/or exchange it with correct info, who would? So I started leveraging my social media platforms to do exactly that.
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In addition to correcting medical untruths, your content material additionally focuses by yourself specialization as an ophthalmologist. What is one false impression round ophthalmology that you simply hope to make clear by way of your TikTookay?
I feel one of many primary issues folks get confused about are the several types of docs and eye care professionals on the market. As an ophthalmologist, I accomplished medical faculty, maintain a medical diploma, and deal with illnesses of the eyes with medicines, procedures, and surgical procedures. There are different sorts of eye care specialists who’ve their very own vital roles in eye care – like optometrists to measure glasses/contact lenses and do eye screenings and opticians who assist match glasses.
How can people keep well-informed about medical information and developments? What crimson flags ought to folks pay attention to when searching for medical info on-line, particularly when on social media?
Just such as you would select your personal private physician fastidiously, I might select who you comply with and the place you get info on-line correctly as effectively. Make certain what you’re studying is updated/present (science and conditions are continually evolving), from a trusted supply (beware nameless accounts or extremely biased websites), and backed by proof (are you able to different sources that again up the knowledge?).
TikTookay for Doctors is a information you created for physicians eager to develop their social media channels. In phrases of the web medical group, what do you imagine the advantages are of getting medical professionals share their tales on social media?
I feel having medical professionals share their tales on-line is extraordinarily vital. To take advantage of affect, we should go the place persons are. We can solely assist 1 affected person at a time in our clinics, however on-line and on social media, now we have the chance to assist so many extra. As I discussed above, there may be a lot misinformation on the market, we should meet it head-on. Moreover, on this local weather of a lot uncertainty and doubt, exhibiting our human sides may also help construct connections and belief between healthcare professionals and sufferers.
With the rise in reputation of social media platforms like TikTookay, how do you think about the way forward for on-line healthcare schooling to evolve going forwards?
I undoubtedly have seen the youthful technology of residents and medical college students rocking this space over the previous 5 years or so. My technology is slowly catching up – I feel the pandemic actually gave a few of us a massive push – to turn out to be extra comfy educating and speaking nearly. TikTookay has undoubtedly made it clear that video content material is right here to remain – and whether or not a physician’s objective is to coach, construct a model, or market his/her follow – we have to embrace it.
You promote a wholesome work-life steadiness between your profession as an ophthalmologist and entrepreneur and your private life. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, now we have seen many healthcare professionals work even longer hours than pre-pandemic, and this has proved to be taxing on the psychological and bodily well being of many. How do you personally steadiness your profession as a doctor with your own home life, and why is it vital to prioritize this steadiness?
I’m lucky that I’m in a specialty that enables for flexibility (there are hardly ever any life-threatening emergencies in ophthalmology), so I’m able to schedule my clinics and can keep away from working late or on weekends if I’ve different plans. I’m additionally fortunate that my husband and I had our exterior companies in place pre-pandemic (I do direct gross sales and on-line advertising; he does actual property and on-line programs. We even have varied investments.) in order that when COVID acquired actually unhealthy, we may step again from drugs after we wanted/needed to (like when my son acquired COVID).
While I really like being a physician, I didn’t like it 24-7, nor did I really like the sensation of HAVING to go to work. This was how I felt the primary 5 years after commencement once I felt like my complete identification and safety was wrapped up in being a full-time, productive doctor. I truthfully do not assume anyone enjoys something that they really feel compelled to do – and even worse, trapped in. Eventually, I hit a breaking level (a story for one more time) and realized that drugs is “simply” a job – not who I really was (I’m a mother, spouse, good friend, educator, supporter, and a lot extra!). Being capable of take that step again, construct alternate sources of earnings, and embrace/steadiness my household, my private life, and my pursuits, I imagine has made me get pleasure from drugs much more!
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What recommendation would you give to folks inquisitive about pursuing a profession within the medical subject?
I might say, “Go for it!” Being capable of assist others with their well being is actually a privilege, and I’m so glad I selected this path myself.
Where can readers discover extra info?
About Dr. Vicki Chan
I at the moment work as an impartial contractor at a giant managed care facility in Southern California, seeing and treating basic ophthalmology and glaucoma sufferers. I additionally do on-line advertising for varied firms/organizations and have a ardour for social media communication and schooling, particularly combating medical misinformation.
I’m at the moment working with a number of public well being organizations to assist disseminate correct COVID-19 and vaccine info, together with the United Nations/#TeamHalo, #ThisIsOurShot, and the Public Goods Project.