THE NADI BLOG
WORKING TO PRESENT RESEARCH-DRIVEN KNOWLEDGE
David F. Lo, BA, MBS1,2
Dr. Qian-Su Cheng is a dermatologist and Chief of the Hair Transplant Center at Chang-Gung Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. He is an expert in hair transplant as well as eyebrow and beard hair transplantation. Dr.Cheng also performs a variety of techniques like burned scalp reconstruction, facelift hair revision, scalp reduction, scar revision, and more. He specializes in FUT and FUE surgical techniques in which hair is removed from the donor’s scalp and placed/transplanted onto the region of the patient’s head that requires hair. Dr. Cheng is also an expert in robotic follicular unit extraction which is a more advanced method for obtaining hair.
Receiving his MD at Taipei Medical University in 1991, Dr. Cheng spent many years specializing in dermatology, doing his residency and fellowship in that department. He performed a research fellowship at Kyoto University in Japan and clinical fellowship at Toranomon Hospital in Tokyo, eventually becoming a chief resident at the Department of
Dermatology, Rui-dong Hospital in Shanghai. Finally, he became an attending physician in the Department of Dermatology at the World Path Clinic in Shanghai in 2010 before becoming the chief of Hair Transplant Center at Chang-Gung Hospital in 2012.
He believes that leadership in medicine is especially important in medicine in order to
provide the best experience for the patient. He defines leadership as something that cannot be really be measured but having the strength and courage in one’s decisions. What is most important in medicine and leadership is the collaborative effort because he works as part of a team. Whether it’s the nurse, pharmacist, or physician – we cannot do it all by ourselves.
Thus, his style of leadership is more of influence and not of the more traditional, “do
what I say” approach. Dr. Cheng challenges the team to do their best and inspires them with his vision to provide the best service they can to customers and patients. Also important are ways to think creatively and use evidence-based information to improve the practice.
Dr. Cheng was inspired to become a doctor and leader by one of his professors in college. His professor was a doctor as well as head of an immunology center. He personally took Dr. Cheng under his wing and helped him meet the right people and do the right things to
get into medicine. Personally, he did not find out that he wanted to go into dermatology until rotations in medical school. He loved that there were surgical procedures mixed with medicine in dermatology and felt that this field would still allow him to have a family.
Key Leadership Insights
What advice do you have for a future leader in your field?
I want to warn you that dermatology is very hard to get into. I think it is even more competitive now than when I was in medical school and it was competitive back then too. Matching into dermatology will depend on how you do in medical school and probably where you go. Unfortunately, many people have amazing grades, published papers and done amazing on the exams, so if you know you 100% that you want to go into dermatology, it may be useful to find out if there is someone in the dermatology field who you could start doing research for with the end goal of publishing a paper. You want to first get the knowledge down, then be a leader.
What are three key challenges you face as a leader in the science/technology sector
of business and how do you currently maneuver to lessen the impact or to negate
Cost of prescriptions is continuously rising and finding that balance between cost and value is one of the biggest challenges to not only dermatology but also medicine. If the best medicine can’t be used because they cost so much, then we may need to use the second-best or even the third-best medicine, which is not optimal. Luckily, we are not at that stage yet, but we are always informing our patients of the cost so at least they are not surprised at the pharmacy. The national health system in Taiwan is also a challenge, but I am sure that this is a problem in America as well. We may see a reduction in reimbursements but because we are part of the hospital insurance system, it will not affect us as much as private clinics or smaller hospitals. That being said, we are always looking to find ways to reduce our costs so that if those reductions in reimbursements do come, it will lessen the impact. Finally, the issue of getting paid for doing less is also a bit troubling. As specialists, we are not affected as much as the regular dermatologists but if doctors did less and were paid more, it could have a huge effect on providing good care to patients. The solution would be to do a lot of research regarding this issue so that we can make an educated decision about this payment model.
3) Where do you see your business growth coming in the next 3 – 5 years?
One interesting sector that is rising is telemedicine or online doctors. Since our major work is in hair transplanting, we will probably not be affected since you cannot get your hair virtually removed or added. But for our other services like diagnosis and recognition, I can see growth in computers and telemedicine in the next 5 or so years.
4) What attributes will be needed in the leaders in your company in the future and why?
Grit and constant perseverance. Going into medicine is a hard journey. Being a leader in
medicine is even harder. You must never give up and continue working hard. Doing that will
naturally allow you to shine and the people will come to you.
5) What inspired you to go into dermatology?
I did not find that I wanted to go into dermatology until rotating through the field during my fourth year of med school. For me, I liked the fact that there were surgical procedures mixed with medicine, I could see everyone in the population and felt dermatology as a field would still allow me to spend time with my family. I think that all of these points are what makes dermatology as a profession appealing and if I had to do it over again, I would still choose dermatology.
How I got in contact with Dr. Cheng:
It was a long process. First, I contacted my great-uncle or grand-uncle who is a retired
cardiothoracic surgeon. I got the chance to talk with him about everything, from medical school to his inspiration into going into medicine. I also learned some very interesting things about my family. For instance, my mother’s great-great uncle was the secretary for health and human services (equivalent) of Taipei and was a successful breast cancer surgeon. He was able to perform a difficult mastectomy on one of my family members who had breast cancer and it was successful. I also discovered that many of my other family members on my mother’s side were doctors and many of them even became chiefs at different hospitals.
After talking with my great-uncle and telling him about my assignment, he referred me to
one of his friends who knew more people in dermatology and business space. That friend was Mr. Chong (or Qong) who was a type of hospital technician. After talking with him, he
suggested Dr. Cheng, Chief of the Hair Transplant Center at Chang-Gung Hospital who I was able to get in contact and talk with on August 30th. I first spoke with the secretary who told me a little about Dr. Cheng, what he does, and her brief thoughts about the leadership/organization at the hair transplant center. It was interesting because I got to take a look at a viewpoint of an assistant of a leader who had great insights into team dynamics, paperwork, and organization. I then made an appointment to talk with the doctor on September 1st at 8 PM. (The time difference between Taiwan and New Jersey is 12 hours). I was able to have an amazing conversation with Dr. Cheng, who really went out of his way to tell me not only leadership tips but also medical tips as well. In the end, he told me to keep him posted on my admission into medical school and I will definitely do that.
I also had help from my mother in translating some of the more difficult Chinese words
(like locations in Taiwan and techniques). As to the disclosure, Dr. Cheng allows you to use his name, position, business, and contact info (139-148-8867). Referring to Interview 1 or 2 is fine as well. He also gave me his private email.