Today is my 51st birthday. Every once in a while, my birthday falls on a holiday (I was born on Labor Day). Thus, I have my Dunkin Donuts’ coffee, don’t have to cook and get the kids off to school and the office is closed!
I can really do whatever I want….today.
My purpose in writing today was to post something nonclinical and personal. Something “transparent.”
I have learned many things over the past 3 years since starting this blog, and now a formal business. The biggest lesson learned is that transparency is essential to be successful as a professional and a leader.
For example, the difference between Steve Jobs and Bill Gates is NOT Macs vs. PC. The difference is one is transparent whereas the other is not.
Steve Jobs is willing to be transparent. We, the public, know much more about Steve’s personal life than we do Gates. Think about all you know about Steve Jobs. Now think about all you know about Bill Gates.
One guy has made fanatical contributions to the world and is ill. The other guy is just ridiculously rich.
That explains that funny feeling you got a few weeks ago when Steve Jobs resigned.
You won’t feel the same with Gates. No transparency.
I now exceed over 6500 unique visits (per 30 days) on this blog. That’s an exceptional number considering that I use this for educational purposes.
My most popular articles are those that are personal; Grant going to college, losing Keno, etc. It’s noteworthy, yet compelling. These are articles that bring you into my life. These are articles that show that I, too, am a human and not just a overzealous doc that likes to blog.
Not every physician is willing to show this degree of transparency, but it’s the key to a physician’s success online (and btw, every doctor needs to be online). Mark my words.
Unfortunately, doctors are not normally transparent. In fact we do many things to build up a wall to keep us insulated; we wear white coats, a uniform to “distinguish” us, place nonsensical awards and diplomas on our office walls to which patients can NOT relate (to make matters worse, most are in Latin), write short bios of ourselves that not even other doctors can understand the significance, etc. Worst of all, when we meet with patients, we rarely can afford a true dialogue, but instead, advise about your illness via a monologue (“Let me tell you how to fix your problem and get well.”)
Being transparent shows that behind the white coat and the rest of the wall…we are actually human. Docs shouldn’t live in an ivory tower.
I don’t know why docs don’t like to show they are human, it’s like they are afraid to show they are, well…normal.
I’ve been tasked with talking about “marketing.” My main message will be that a successful doctor is one that understands the needs of his or her patients. Social media is a compelling statement that patients want their doctors to be online and those that show some degree of transparency will be the most successful. In fact, I’ll be recommending to this elite group of docs that if they are thinking about aligning with a practice without a web page…move on. That’s a practice that has it’s head in the sand.
There are still docs out there that believe in the “build it and they will come” approach to attracting patients. Trying over and over again to impress patients with their smarts and intellect…but patients already know docs are smart. We went to med school, right?
What’s missing is transparency. Docs need to show they are human.