who decides who's a top doctor?
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Who Decides Who's a Top Doctor?
April, 2013, Page 190
Who picks the doctors?
To select the physicians,
magazine obtains lists of all Valley physicians, including M.D.s (medical doctors), D.O.s (osteopathic doctors), N.D.s/N.M.Ds (naturopathic doctors) and podiatrists from their respective medical boards.
magazine then randomly mails surveys to 5,000 of those physicians. The surveys ask the doctors to nominate peers who, in their judgment, are the best in each of 50 specialties. We then merely tally the votes.
magazine check out all of the doctors on the list?
Yes. Once the list is compiled,
magazine’s fact-checkers verify the doctors’ names, addresses, phone numbers and board certifications (physicians must be board-certified to qualify). In addition, each name is checked against the state’s medical boards to determine if the doctor is currently under probation or has had his or her license revoked. Those who have are removed from the list. To find out more about individual doctors, visit azmd.gov for M.D.s and D.O.s; and podiatry.state.az.us for podiatrists.
Why not ask patients to rate the best doctors?
magazine uses a peer-review survey because we believe medical professionals are best qualified to judge medical professionals. Patients generally lack the medical expertise to judge a doctor’s qualifications. Should we ever do a ranking based solely on bedside manner, querying patients might be an option.
Do the same doctors make the list every year?
Many doctors do, but there are many new doctors on the list each year, too. Because the established, well-known doctors are exactly that – established and well-known – the list might favor that kind of physician. Given the importance of choosing a doctor, however,
magazine views that as a healthy bias.
Was my doctor left off the list because he doesn’t advertise in
Absolutely not. Like any credible publication,
magazine’s editorial content is not dictated by who advertises. In those cases when a doctor on the list also has an ad in the magazine, it’s a matter of coincidence. Doctors – as well as our sales representatives – have no advance knowledge of who has made the list. Like you, they have to wait until the magazine is published to find out. The only exception are the doctors who have been profiled for this feature.
If my doctor’s not on the list, does that mean he/she is not a good doctor?
No. Although peer-review is considered the most reliable methodology, it’s not perfect. To be recognized by a large number of peers, it stands to reason that a doctor would have to have practiced in the Valley for several years. There are many newcomers who are undoubtedly excellent physicians but haven’t yet gained widespread recognition. In addition, there are many doctors in small practices or outlying areas who, likewise, haven’t gained widespread recognition.
My doctor was on the list last year but isn’t there this year. What does that mean?
It doesn’t necessarily mean anything, and it certainly shouldn’t be viewed as evidence of a drop-off in the doctor’s effectiveness. Getting on the list once doesn’t guarantee that a doctor will be on the list indefinitely – the selection process begins anew each year. Also, in particularly competitive specialties, a doctor may have been only a couple votes short of becoming a Top Doc.
Each year, you do short feature profiles on a handful of doctors. How do you choose which ones to profile?
Essentially, we “throw a dart at the map.” Because every doctor on the list is considered among the best in the Valley, every doctor is worthy of being profiled. Obviously, it would be impossible to profile all of them, so we randomly select a handful each year.
Why do you include podiatrists and naturopaths on the list?
Although it’s true that podiatrists and naturopaths aren’t M.D.s, we’ve gotten a lot of requests to include them over the years. The bottom line is this: Top Doctors is intended to provide a service to our readers, and including podiatrists and naturopaths is yet another service. In addition, the specialties we list each year are subject to change according to what we feel our readers are seeking.
— For more information about our selection process, send us an email at
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