How We Find the Region’s Top Doctors
Here are the area’s top doctors as selected by other doctors. We sent questionnaires to 6,500 randomly selected area physicians asking them what doctors they would send members of their families to in each of 36 medical specialties. More than 1,250 physicians responded.
By Ken DeCell Published Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Here are the area’s top doctors as selected by other doctors. We sent questionnaires to 6,500 randomly selected area physicians asking them what doctors they would send members of their families to in each of 36 medical specialties. More than 1,250 physicians responded. Together they named thousands of doctors in the Washington/Baltimore area. This list is made up of those who received the greatest number of recommendations within their specialties, with adjustments to account for geographic distribution.
The medical specialties included are those in which patients generally have a choice of doctor. Anesthesiologists and emergency-room physicians, for example, are not listed because patients typically do not select them. Two surgical subspecialties, Breast-Cancer Surgery and Hand Surgery, are included for the first time on the list.
Doctors are asked to name pediatric practitioners in most specialties, and physicians who concentrate on treating children within their specialties are designated as doing so, but pediatric subspecialties themselves pediatric cardiology, for example are not broken out separately.
An important note: The doctors on this list are not necessarily the area’s best doctors, and they certainly are not the only good ones. Many first-rate physicians are not on the list. There are several reasons for this.
Doctors tend to be known within the medical villages they practice and make referrals in. These are usually grouped around hospitals and population centers. Doctors in one village often do not know doctors in others. This can work to the disadvantage of physicians in out-of-the-way places and in closed organizations in which outside referrals are limited.
Some excellent doctors have such narrow subspecialties that they are not singled out in a more general context. Many physicians who practice in and even head hospital departments are not part of normal referral networks and therefore often go unnamed. Some younger physicians haven’t been in practice long enough to establish their reputations widely. And physicians in group practices often are thought of collectively; in many instances, only one or two of the name physicians in a group make the list while their associates, perhaps equally well thought of, do not garner enough mentions.
The Top Doctors selections in some respects constitute an all-star list, but the list is designed to be broad enough to be useful to readers throughout the area.
Although the doctors on the list are respected by their colleagues, the listing of a physician here is no guarantee that you will be satisfied, nor should it be a substitute for your own judgment. Almost every physician has bad outcomes in the course of a career, and there are few who haven’t had dissatisfied patients. If you feel uncomfortable with a doctor, no matter what his or her credentials, find another.
If you have good relationships with doctors you see now, maintain those relationships, whether or not the doctors are on this or any other list. When you need the services of specialists, consult your current physicians. This list is designed to be a resource in helping you make informed decisions.
Online listings for Top Doctors include office addresses and phone numbers, abbreviations for the hospitals at which they have privileges, insurance plans they participate in, and special interests and subspecialties where provided. Because insurance affiliations change, always check them with the doctor’s office before making an appointment.