Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors are rigorously selected from among the total population of 700,100 physicians in practice in the United States. Each year we receive over 150,000 nominations from physicians nominating those they believe to be among the best in their regions and throughout the nation. Our intensive research methodology is designed to identify doctors that will speed patients’ healing, minimize pain and discomfort, shorten recovery periods and enhance and lengthen lives – in other words, achieve the best possible health outcomes.
As Marty Makarty, M.D. a surgeon at John Hopkins, wrote in his widely acclaimed book Unaccountable; “So how does a patient who hasn’t been to medical school find the best care? The only real way to judge health care quality is to ask health professionals who work closely with doctors daily.”
Today, such independent assessment of medical care is more important than ever. Anyone can draw up a “best of” list – and many organizations do. Pharmaceutical companies favor those physicians who are high prescribers of their drugs. To many health insurers a physician’s fees are often a more important factor than quality. Many publications and websites recommend health care providers who pay to get their names mentioned. But Castle Connolly has no such conflicts of interest. Our sole purpose is to help patients, their families and their employers find health care providers who deliver superior results.
Some people believe that patient ratings are the best source of information on doctors. Unfortunately, that is a misguided assumption. Patients may be able to rate a doctor’s “bedside manner,” but they know little about the complexity of medical care. In fact, an article in Forbes magazine pointed out – “The current system might just kill you. Many doctors, in order to get high ratings (and a higher salary), over-prescribe and over-test, just to “satisfy” patients, who probably aren’t qualified to judge their care. And there’s a financial cost, as flawed survey methods and the decisions they induce, produce billions more in waste.”
After a physician’s name is submitted by colleagues as part of our nomination process for consideration as a Top Doctor, our physician-led research team delves into the professional records of top nominated physicians in order to ascertain those that have exceptional training, experience and are highly regarded by their peers. In addition, disciplinary histories and malpractice actions are also carefully scrutinized.
Top Doctors can have an enormous impact. For patients and their families, the value of receiving first-class medical care is great – it’s measured in quality and even greater length of life. Employers, however, can see the results in their bottom line. Faulty diagnosis and improper treatment take a toll in productivity and ripple out into higher workplace costs. No company should have to make do for weeks or months without a key employee or executive, when a Top Doctor may have solved the patient’s problem efficiently and simply.