The Rise of Tik Tok Docs

Have you heard of Tik Tok? If you’re thinking about the sound a clock makes while time is passing, think again! The rapidly growing video social network is grasping the attention of millions worldwide, and especially doctors and healthcare professionals as of late. These Tik Tok Docs are going viral as they share educational videos on their platform with fun and youthful twists. You might be asking yourself, what is Tik Tok and why are doctors so fascinated by it? Continue reading to find out!

What is Tik Tok?

Since its launch in 2016, the Chinese video-sharing application has dominated social media platforms all over the globe. Founded and owned by ByteDance, Tik Tok is commonly used to make short-form videos, ranging from fifteen seconds to one minute in length, consisting of people dancing, singing, lip-syncing, or just talking!

The many genres on the app have allowed for rapid success and engagement, giving Tik Tok over 800 million active users worldwide in 2021. Social influencers of all types are on the page which creates a space for anyone and everyone. Its main drawing point is known as the ‘For You Page’, a home feed tailored specifically to the user’s interests. Tik Tok’s algorithm will curate a customized page of content based on previous videos the viewer has interacted with.

Why are doctors so fascinated by Tik Tok?

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Tik Tok struggled to gain traction and interest from the public. Although now, the internet community is running ramped as individuals actively search for ways to remain connected, informed and entertained.

Tik Tok Doctors of all specialties claim that the app’s casual and informal tone removes the fear factor commonly associated with educating an audience, especially a younger one about medicine. Sexual health, vaping, COVID-19, etc. are some of the most prevalent issues for Tik Tok’s teen-dominated demographic and are what physicians on the app are focusing their efforts towards. Health professionals are able to serve as an accurate source of information for the public and in turn, remove the risk of unqualified individuals giving out medical advice.

In a turn of sharing trusted information, these Tik Tok Docs allow audiences to take a look into their personal lives since everyone always wants to know “what is it actually like to be a doctor?”. They showcase their day-to-day experiences and wisdom associated with working in the healthcare space, helping humanize their professions.

What are the “Tik Tok Docs” sharing?

Source: Austin Chiang MD, MPH on Youtube

On Tik Tok, it is very common to see humorous videos consisting of people doing something out of the ordinary. The spin that these physician influencers have taken is combining an amusing and informative approach. Most of the time a funny dance and/or song is used to relay the overall educational message. For example, Dr. Austin Chiang, MD, MPH or more commonly known as @austinchiangmd on Tik Tok, shared his advice on proper gastrointestinal functions to the hit song “Buss It” by Erica Banks. The casual approach helps bridge the gap between two very different communities.

Moreover, gastrointestinal issues are not the only things being discussed, Tik Tok’s medical community regularly touches on subjects such as Dermatology, Mental Health, General Medicine, and Sexual Health. There truly is something for everyone on Tik Tok!

Can Tik Tok be trusted within medicine?

In medicine, violations of HIPAA law, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act are serious offences to physicians which is why the following issues are being heavily looked at.

Tik Tok does not hold the reputation of being a secure platform that is regularly monitored. The main concern of having medical professionals on the app is the potential of indulging in a doctor-patient relationship through the use of a social platform. Tik Tok’s community guidelines emphasize the prevention of misinformation that could cause harm to an individual, community, or the larger public. The risk of misleading medical statements poses a big question of the app’s safety.

Additionally, doubts are being placed on the professionalism and credibility of these Tik Tik Docs through their use of explicit songs, unprofessional language, and provocative dancing.

We are witnessing the true strength of virality, which is fuelling many doubts about Tik Tok Docs in the medical community. What can doctors say or do on these platforms? What can they not say or do? The water is very gray, there are no previous precedents for influencer physicians. 

Meet Canada’s Top 2 Tik Tok Docs!

Dr. Naheed Dosani (@dr.naheedd)

Dr. Naheed Dosani is a Toronto-based Palliative Care Physician and healthcare justice advocate with close to 11,200 followers on Tik Tok and has accumulated 199,500 likes on his light-hearted and educational videos! Dr. Naheed’s goal on the app is to teach the younger generation about the COVID-19 virus through an upbeat approach.

Dr. Naheed recently told CTV News that his Tik Tok journey began by making a public health message focused on social distancing and infection control strategies. As seen in the video below, he actively supports physicians on social platforms like Tik Tok and strives to connect a younger audience with health care professionals through simple methods.

Dr. Naheed not only uses his following to educate people on medicine but also on social justice movements. As a strong ally of the Black Lives Matter movement, he starts those difficult conversations about social inequality and racial injustice. Overall, Dr. Naheed’s platform is a pillar of success in many different aspects.

Dr. Gigi Osler (@drgigiosler)

Our next Top Tik Tok Doc is Dr. Gigi Osler, an Ear Nose and Throat Surgeon from Winnipeg, Manitoba and past President of the Canadian Medical Association. Through her network of 17,500 followers, Dr. Gigi works to connect the medical community to their patients. In recent months, her content has been geared towards highlighting the key information about the Novel Coronavirus and how to avoid contraction.

Some of Dr. Gigi’s most viral videos include a series of her sharing her experience of receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. In the Tik Tok, she touches on the pain of the shot itself, soreness in her arm, and much more!

In addition to her vaccination videos, Dr. Gigi created a series demonstrating the pandemic from a healthcare worker’s perspective. This now 15 part chain shows her audience the true triumphs and tribulations that those in the medical community are currently facing. Dr. Gigi’s channel accurately represents the Tik Tok Docs’ goal of humanizing professions in the medical world.

As we can see, the new Tik Tok Docs fascination thrives based on their reliability in terms of credible information. The safety and security of the app are still in question and raise a fair amount of concerns about if doctors should be engaging with users on the platform.