Dr. Austin Chiang is a triple board-certified, dual ivy-league (Harvard, Columbia) educated and trained gastroenterologist and advanced endoscopist. Dr. Chiang’s interests include novel endoscopic weight loss treatments as well as the complex interventional endoscopic procedures including the diagnosis and treatment of various gastrointestinal conditions and their complications. Dr. Chiang is currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Jefferson Health (Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals) in Philadelphia, PA, and serves as the Director of the Endoscopic Weight Loss Program and Chief Medical Social Media Officer for the health system. 

Passionate about empowering patients with accurate medical information online, he pursued a Masters In Public Health with a field of study in Clinical Effectiveness and a concentration in Public Health Leadership. Consistently one of the most influential voices in the field of gastroenterology online, Dr. Chiang has conducted extensive research in social media and is champion of physician presence on social media and is the Chief Medical Social Media Officer of Jefferson Health and Founding President of the Association for Healthcare Social Media (AHSM), the first 501(c)(3) professional society for health professional social media use.

Here are takeaways from our conversation:

RULE #1: PRIORITIZE

Austin landed on the speciality of gastrology late in the game he recalls. He felt like he chose a field that gave him a lot of variety, including engagement with healthcare professionals in other fields. He said that his journey is healthcare is never-ending as there is always learning to be done in medicine. How does a busy doctor get everything done? Austin said it’s all about prioritizing. In medicine and healthcare, we’re constantly bombarded with new information. The ability to prioritize goes hand in hand with being in healthcare, as well as accepting the fact that some things can’t get done immediately. 

By the time you graduate from medical school, a lot of what you were taught has already changed, which is important for doctors and other healthcare professionals to keep advancing and to stay on top of the innovation.

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HOW TO CHOOSE A SPECIALITY/SETTING 

Austin took a methodical approach to find a speciality and weighed the pros and cons of the specialities he was interested in. He also leaned on his intuition to help guide him to the right speciality. Just because you don’t pursue something doesn’t mean you no longer like that subject matter- there are many factors you have to consider, like how your personality and your preferences fit into a certain specialty or setting. 

PREPARE FOR THE GOOD AND BAD DAYS

Austin shares that a bad day at work is when things happen that are out of his control, which in medicine is quite common. There are a lot of logistical things, including policy, administration, and many moving parts that go into the healthcare system. Nevertheless, Austin says looking at the big picture reminds him of his purpose, despite the bumps on the road. Austin said he tries to focus on the little wins that he’s able to achieve during difficult days.

burnt out to lit up joy energy time burnout healthcare physician medicine wellness

PREPARE FOR THE GOOD AND BAD DAYS

Austin shares that a bad day at work is when things happen that are out of his control, which in medicine is quite common. There are a lot of logistical things, including policy, administration, and many moving parts that go into the healthcare system. Nevertheless, Austin says looking at the big picture reminds him of his purpose, despite the bumps on the road. Austin said he tries to focus on the little wins that he’s able to achieve during difficult days.

MEDICINE IS A TEAM APPROACH

Austin says when everyone is on the same page, working efficiently, and working together- it’s a good day at work. Communication is everything- a lack of communication can really spell disaster. Although that word is thrown around a lot, effective communication is especially difficult. Austin shares that having a very open and honest conversation from the start when conflict arises is the better way to go. As long as the communication is framed in the way of focusing on patient care vs having to prove yourself right for the sake of being right.

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LEADERSHIP AND SOCIAL MEDIA

For Austin, leadership is someone who others look to for guidance and inspiration for moments of strength and vulnerability. Austin makes a good point- being a leader isn’t necessarily a title, but it’s something you do. Leadership for Austin is also getting work done with a specific goal in mind to empower others. Do what you want to do to achieve the goal versus achieving the title, which is something that people can get really hung up on.

Austin created the Association for Healthcare Social Media to help educate and positively impact the lives of the general public and to give a safe platform for healthcare professionals to be spokespeople and leaders online. Patients are on social media and there are a lot of false health claims. There are a lot of physicians and healthcare professionals on social media; the last thing Austin wants is for his colleagues to fall victim to the pitfalls; i.e. violating patient privacy, professionalism concerns, etc.

Not only is this initiative to protect healthcare professionals, but it is a public health initiative to protect the general public to make sure that they can consume accurate content from healthcare professionals and validate the efforts of healthcare professionals using social media.

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Categories: BOLU Podcast

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