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A Doctor Reflects: ‘Where were you on 9/11?’


On 9/11, I was working in a private practice setting for two of the largest groups in Maryland. Remembering led me to reflect how far I’ve changed ...in ten years.

The neutralization of Osama Bin Laden on Sunday brought me back ten years. On 9/11, I was working in a private practice setting for two of the largest groups in Maryland. I was busier than I ever dreamed, had a unique business plan, and was bursting with work ...and in many ways it was great.

On the other hand, my kids were getting a bit older and I was stressed daily trying to split my time effectively (not equally) between kids and work. Just like our friend Dr. Litton, who wrote last week about “Creating the Balance Between Medicine and Family.”

Ten years later, I am working as a physician about half the time, I go in late and come home early. I rarely miss anything for the kids. I’ve remarried and we still have three of five kids at home. I make less money, but have lots of time for the family.

There was a lot of value to working the crazy hours ten years ago. I had so much work, I really honed my skills, and in some ways I feel I “peaked” in my career much earlier than I had anticipated. While I love retinal surgery, the prior experience has allowed me to change focus.

Over the last few years, I’ve developed a real passion for the Internet and how it can help doctors practice. My wife Amy is an attorney and for some time she has had hopes of switching to the private sector. For years, she has studied how lawyers have used the Internet for their own industry.

As an anniversary gift, Amy brought me to a very high-end conference on the Internet a few years ago. “The System” really inspired me. I discovered that Google was transforming the Internet into an exact science. There were now rules. The Internet had become legitimate. No more games and gimmicks to get web rankings. I saw tremendous applications for physicians.

I spend the other part of my ‘work” week developing this passion. I work regularly maintaining my website on retinal diseases. I write weekly for physicians and have co-founded a medical SEO firm to teach others how to market their own practices effectively, and ethically, while improving the quality of health information on the Web.

What does this mean? I’ve just told you a story about the last ten years of my life. There is no real meaning to this week’s post other than to share with you part of who I am, what I do and why.
From now on when you read my posts, you’ll remember me differently than just another physician blogger. (Oh yeah, I kickbox and play tennis, too.)

By letting you know a little more about who I am, I’ve become more transparent and, hopefully human to you. If you and I are lucky, we may share more in common with each other than just healthcare and this gives a more likely opportunity to form a “relationship” (in social media lingo).

Transparency is a huge element to the power of social media and the key to forming better, and more permanent relationships between you, your employees and patients. It will make you more meaningful to those around you because transparency will make you real.
Remember, having a white coat is what you are ...transparency is who you are.

Learn more about Randall Wong and our other contributing bloggers here.

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