Happy Birthday to Me!

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Today is my birthday. I decided to celebrate by writing something non-clinical yet about something I enjoy. It's about doctors willing to show transparency!

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.”

The Importance of Transparency

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.

My Personal Stories Get the Most “Hits”

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.

Doctors Should Be Transparent

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.

The AAO and My Message

I have been invited to address 200 “young ophthalmologists” at the American Academy of Ophthalmology meeting next month.  It’s a huge honor and terrific endorsement for our company.

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.


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  • Cathy Wittman September 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Happy Birthday, Dr. Wong! Great post! Enjoy your day with the fam! 🙂

  • Thomas Wong September 5, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Happy BDay!

  • cj September 5, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Happy Birthday!
    I happened upon your website and find it to be very informative and “kind” in its approach. Thank you for your insight.

  • David September 5, 2011 at 12:23 pm


    Congrats on your birthday.
    I see your point about transparency, but you sure picked the wrong examples!
    The Bill and Linda Gates Foundation has already distributed around 25 Billion dollars around the world.
    They’ve addressed everything from Health to Education.
    Please google it!

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm

      Dear David,

      No, I beg to differ. I am not saying that the Gates’ are bad. Their philanthropic endeavors are really second to none!

      I am saying that the difference between the two megastars is that one is transparent and the other is not. As a result the relationship and feelings you have about them is completely different due to transparency.

      Thanks for commenting!


  • dnt September 5, 2011 at 12:48 pm

    Happy birthday Wish you many happy returns of the day

  • Rick Barnes September 5, 2011 at 12:49 pm

    Happy Birthday Randy !!! Have a great day.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 7, 2011 at 4:54 pm

      Thanks! See you soon.

      Hope your son is well. We thank him for his service to our country!


  • Sondra Unverferth September 5, 2011 at 12:57 pm

    Happy Birthday, Dr. Wong!

  • Dick September 5, 2011 at 1:04 pm

    Happy Birthday Dr. Wong! Enjoy!

  • avi September 5, 2011 at 1:09 pm

    undoubtedly.you are unusual DR
    Happy Birthday!

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 7, 2011 at 4:56 pm

      Dear Avi,

      Perhaps more unusual than you would think…….we need more unusual docs!


  • J P Hickey September 5, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    Happy birthday.

  • Steve and Elizabeth September 5, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    Happy Birthday!!! Have a great relaxing day.

  • C Perkins September 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Happy Birthday Dr. Wong. I celebrated today by going to hit a few golf balls; the first time in the past 18 months. Guess what, I could actually see a few of them land out by the 150 yard marker. Can you fix a slice too?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 7, 2011 at 4:57 pm

      Dear Chip,

      I can’t fix a slice…I gave up.

      Thanks for the bday wishes!

      Regards to M.


  • N. EDWARDS September 5, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    Belated birthday wishes to you, Doc & many, many more to come!
    Keep up the good work; we appreciate your efforts. Thank you.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 7, 2011 at 4:58 pm

      Dear N.,

      It was nice meeting you the other week. Thanks for following us here. I hope you like it!

      Regards to your family in England (if I remember correctly).


  • Dr. Sam September 9, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Dr. Wong,

    I cannot tell you how much I agree with your statement about doctors and transparency in this post. I am an optometrist and I have heard over and over from patients how much they appreciate candor and personal attention from me. I believe that it is not only what sets me apart from many of my colleagues, but that my patient feel better taken care of because I am not afraid to let them in on my thought process. I think by doing this they see that I am indeed human, am not arrogant enought to believe that I know it all and am constantly learning. Thank you for pointing out that this can be an asset to your patient relationships, and your practice health!

    Samantha Hornberger, O.D.
    Oakely Square Eye Associates

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. September 12, 2011 at 4:50 am

      Dear Dr. Sam,

      Thank you very much for the nice comment.

      What you do with your patients as you describe is exemplary. Being yourself actually strengthens your position, personality and increases your respect.

      In the days of “house calls,” patients and doctors got to know one another. Those days are long gone due to (in my opinion) the specialization of health care. Believe it or not the Internet (via social media) gives us the opportunity to reunite ourselves with patients….but as humans.

      Stay in touch.

      We are hopeful to present at your academy in Chicago 2012.


  • Mike B September 11, 2011 at 3:35 am

    All the blessings for you, Dr Randy!

  • John D. September 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    I have had mixed encounters with “bad” and “good” doctors (for lack of a better term) not that they were not able to perform their jobs but how they present themselves was not very professional.

    The last surgeon I saw about a FoV told me rather than getting a FoV I should name them like pets too feel better about them.

    I am curious to know if that is even considered to be a professional answer from a medical physician?

    Plus pets are not “blobs” that interfere with your ability to read and drive. So moot point from the surgeon, I guess.

  • John D. September 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm


    Happy late Birth Day.

  • Byron September 22, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    Happy belated birthday, LD!

  • Charles Wagley September 28, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    How do you find a good doctor ? You certainly seem to be one but I live in Oklahoma. I have CRVO. Was diagnosed over a year ago and sent to a retinal specialist. Gave me two injections of a drug on which he was doing a clinical study. Did not help. Had me coming back at regular intervals but no further treatment. Last visit about a month ago he never mentioned another appointment. Since he wasn’t doing anything but check my eye I didn’t ask for one. Am blind in one eye and 20/60 in the other. Can no longer drive or read without magnifaction.Anyone know a good retinal specialist in Oklahoma ?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D. October 3, 2011 at 10:51 am

      Dear Charles,

      Thanks for the comment and good luck with your search.


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