So, you want to be a TikTok doc?
Check out one of my favorite #TikTokdocs content creators:
@rubin_allergy is a double hula hooper who can tie a bow tie while hooping (is this a verb) and opens every video with, “Holy Cow Folks.”
He’s a pediatric allergist and immunologist sharing the latest studies and recommendations regarding COVID in children.
What It Means to Be a TikTok Doc
What does it even mean to be a TikTok doc?
I was wondering the same thing when I launched IME Community (@imecommunity on TikTok), a digital life and weight coaching platform for teens on January 25, 2021.
I had no intention of becoming a TikTok doc. Since I coach teens, everyone said that TikTok would be the panacea to my successful digital entrepreneurship goals. Everything I do aligns with my vision, “creating community with compassionate connection” and so, luckily for my financial goals and ego, I viewed TikTok as a curious fun learning opportunity to show up as my true self.
TikTok has allowed me to fully own Dr. Karla, ActivistMD.
Okay. Fine. I’ll do it. With some advice and technical support from my teens, I launched my TikTok adventure the day my website launched.
Now, here I am, 15 months later, all in, most famously known as the Doctor disrupting weight stigma and bias in healthcare, reversing insulin resistance, and helping everyone find self-love superpower.
I’m using #tiktokdocs with every post, currently have 63.5k followers (not that many according to most of the creators I follow) and growing (I hope to get to a Dr. Evil 1 million). I have over 800 videos that I recently put into a playlist of 10 different content topics.
I’ve spent nearly two decades of my career addressing the childhood obesity epidemic, but have learned so much more from TikTok about what patients experience than I ever did in medical school, residency, as a community pediatrician in a clinic, as a physician leader at a Children’s hospital or as the founder of a community non-profit.
Learning More About Patient Experiences Through TikTok
TikTok is a collective of shared individual patient experiences, so much so that my daughter and I did a qualitative study, published in KevinMD.com, on the harms of medical gaslighting due to weight stigma and bias after mining over 800 comments on my first viral TikTok post.
In medicine, we are often stuck in systems that are non-agile. Physicians are required to jump through the hoops of constructed QI maintenance of certification projects which, we all know, are not that useful in practice.
Physicians don’t often get the chance to show the different sides of ourselves within static healthcare systems.
Why TikTok Is the Best QI Project for Doctors
TikTok is the best QI because of the platform’s built-in PDSA cycles. First, start with your AIM statement which I suggest could be something like:
Disseminate the most up-to-date information on (insert content topic) on social media platform and measure analytics.
Plan: Do you want to share content based on a recent study, common trend or misinformation that’s out there?
Do: Make the video using a TikTok trend, duet a popular creator’s video, or create your own informative video.
Study: Measure your built-in TikTok analytics.
Act: Refine the change and act on what you’ve learned. Try making a response video.
I’m going to suggest to the American Board of Pediatrics that all my time on TikTok should count as MOC credit this cycle.
If you want to get on TikTok, decide ahead of time by asking yourself these powerful questions:
- How do I want to show up?
- What is the cause I am called to tend to?
- Where do I want to put my attentional focus?
- How will I measure my success?
Don’t try to predict the clock app’s algorithm, get obsessed with which hashtags to post, or constantly check your vanity metrics (total time suck and energy drain).
Ignore haters and trolls with my simple strategy:
Most of us went into medicine to connect with humanity and to make a difference. TikTok is a great platform if you’re a doctor who takes your work seriously, but not yourself.
If you’re feeling called to be a #tiktokdocs, click on that app and dive in. The water’s fine. Follow me @imecommunity and I’ll follow you right back.
Dr. Karla, ActivistMD