TORONTO, Ontario—Going to the doctor’s office can be quite daunting to some. The experience can be impersonal, with practitioners who are matter of fact and impersonable. And let’s face it, the whole thing can culminate into a dire diagnosis. Shalu Pal and her team at Dr. Shalu Pal & Associates in Yorkville, Toronto, are aware of this and have made it a mission to give you major FOMO through their Instagram page, helmed by Pal herself. The page is a fun outlet for the practice, intended to lure you and curb your reservations about doctors and the often harrowing experience of being in an examination room.

DrShaluPal was created in 2016 as a companion page to a Facebook page she had created back in 2013. The goal for the page was to educate, as well as show personality and create a platform that people would want to engage with online, and in person.

“Our page represents our happy office culture. We all love what we do and have fun helping people by making their lives better through vision. Making our patients happy is why we all work together,” Dr. Pal stated. “When I started the office, I wanted to create a place where I loved coming to work every day. I was so lucky to find people who wanted the same thing. So we have fun together, we laugh and we enjoy ourselves at work. We bring our patients into this environment and make sure they feel welcome and enjoy their time with us.”

The page is a true reflection of the office culture Dr. Pal worked so hard to cultivate. It is updated at least three times per week with posts about what’s happening in their office, neighborhood or city. Everything from birthdays, holiday parties, eyewear giveaways, Halloween and NBA playoff celebrations can be found on DrShaluPal. The aggregation of content is of course, a team effort. Dr. Pal and her associates share a creative board where they post ideas to be shared online. The positivity exhibited online as well as in office has attracted like-minded patients Dr. Pal noted. “Over the years, angry patients have left us, and those who enjoy smiling and being kind to each other have remained. Like attract like and we have built our practice around good people. We truly adore our patients and hope that others can see what we have created and if drawn to the culture will want to be a patient of ours,” she said.

Being so open and honest online was quite a challenge for Dr. Pal at first. The long-standing impression that doctors are always stoic and matter-of-fact was hard for her to shake in the beginning, but she stuck to her guns and its paid off.

“Learning to be open and sharing who I really am with the world was difficult at first. We are taught to be professional at all times, to not share and to not let our guard down,” she explained. “But allowing people to see who we are really is a true form of vulnerability that hopefully provides a level of trust to all our patients to be open with us. Be real, be honest and the more you share with us, the greater ability we have to help you.”

Another challenge is one that is common with most ODs across the board—time management. Like many of her peers, Dr. Pal and her staff prioritize their patients at Dr. Shalu Pal and Associates, so it’s not always easy to make time for social media. However, because they work as a team, someone is always around to pick up where the other has left off. “Collectively, we each bring something unique to the table—we have people who have ideas, others who have camera and video skills, computer geniuses and designers, editors and writers. There is so much talent in our team. I could never have the Instagram page that I do without each of them. As a team, we have fun coming up with ideas and seeing them come to life. If we had more time, I can only imagine what they would come up with,” she said.

While Dr. Pal is happy with the progress the page has made, she looks forward to expanding her content. She wants to add more education, highlight doctors at her practice who are doing their residencies, and also showcase some of the talented patients that walk through her doors.

“A long time ago someone asked me what my purpose was and the only word that I could use to describe it [was by explaining] what my ‘why’ was—happiness. I truly want happiness for all those around me and if we can spread a little joy while taking care of our patient’s vision, then we are achieving our goal. Connecting people and bringing people together who can help each other is what our years of experience allow us to do,” she concluded.