Louisiana's Top Doctors: the latest results

Looking for the best in 68 specialty areas

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Here are the results from the latest survey attempting to rank the state’s top doctors. There is no more scientifically based list of recommended doctors available.
In anticipation of some of your questions, here are some answers:

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ABOUT METHODOLOGY

HOW WERE THE TOP DOCTORS SELECTED?
We used the services of Best Doctors Inc. The Boston-based company is the pre-eminent organization at gathering professional peer ratings. Through the years the company has built a database of professionals who are highly regarded by their peers. Those professionals are in turn interviewed for their recommendations. Listed here are the very latest survey results from Best Doctors. Most of the surveying was done through the first half of 2009.

WHAT QUESTION IS ASKED OF THE DOCTORS WHO ARE INTERVIEWED?
Best Doctors contacts each doctor on the previous list and asks the same question: “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty and you couldn’t treat them yourself, to whom would you refer them?”

DO DOCTORS GET A CHANCE TO RESPOND TO OTHER NAMES RECOMMENDED? Every doctor has the opportunity both to comment (confidentially) on the other doctors included in his or her specialty and to make additional nominations. As new names are added to the pool, each undergoes the same peer-evaluation process. The company claims to have developed special software to correct for some methodological biases: for example, to detect and correct for suspect voting patterns and to weigh votes according to the ratings of the doctors who are doing the recommending.

WHAT HAPPENS TO THE DATA? There is a continual refinement of both the voting pool and the nominee pool. Each time a poll is conducted, the list is sifted, refined and improved for better representation and more solid consensuses.

HOW DOES THIS DIFFER FROM LOCAL SURVEYS? One major difference: Doctors are evaluated by their peers nationwide, not just by doctors in their community. In many areas, doctors may be better-known and -evaluated by those within their specialty groups, regardless of where they live, than by local doctors who may not be as knowledgeable in specific specialty areas.

DO DOCTORS HAVE TO PAY TO BE ON THE LIST? NO! We would never use the list if that were the case. Here is the company’s own statement on that issue: “Best Doctors never takes compensation of any kind from doctors or hospitals in return for listing doctors in its database, nor does Best Doctors pay doctors to participate in its survey process.”

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE RULES THAT THE COMPANY USES?

•Doctors are allowed to vote on others in their hospital and medical practices.  The feeling is that those doctors know their peers best –– that is where the survey gets some of its most outspoken evaluations, good and bad.

• Doctors are never “automatically” re-included.  In each biennial poll, current Best Doctors are re-evaluated along with the new nominees.

•All of the voting is strictly confidential.

•Doctors are not notified of their inclusion on the list until after the survey process is completed. Doctors are not required to pay a fee or make a purchase to be included.

HOW MANY DOCTORS WERE SURVEYED? As part of its nationwide survey, the company interviewed more than 30,000 doctors. This is the most recent, credible survey of doctors. 

ARE THE SURVEYS ADMINISTERED RANDOMLY? No.  To get opinions with weight and professional credibility, Best Doctors tries to consult the very best.

Best Doctors contacts all current physicians on the list, including many department heads at major teaching hospitals, and asks them to rate specialists outside their own facilities. According to Best Doctors, the medical community has been extremely supportive over the past 16 years it has administered the survey, providing a 40 percent response rate. 

WHERE’S THE BIAS? There is no perfect, bias-free way to conduct a ranking of any sort. Although Best Doctors has through the years refined its techniques to eliminate biases, any nomination process that relies on peer evaluations will naturally favor more senior doctors who have had time to develop a reputation. Those who are new in their professions or those who have not had much peer interaction will naturally get less recognition. The broadness and the depth of the voting pool help eliminate biases and cronyism that might be reflected in smaller surveys.

HOW CREDIBLE IS BEST DOCTORS? We know of no better company for providing this type of information. Best Doctors’ roots begin with Woodward/White Inc. of Aiken, S.C. That company was founded by a person who was diagnosed with a terminal illness who discovered the frustrations of facing serious illness but not having any source as a reference for medical help.

Woodward/White was once the subject of a favorable report on 60 Minutes. Although Best Doctors is now located in Boston, the research unit is still in Aiken.

HOW WERE THE MEDICAL CATEGORIES USED IN THIS SELECTION DETERMINED? They were selected by Best Doctors.

IS THIS THE DEFINITIVE LIST? Of course not. We have no doubt that there are many worthy doctors who were not included in the list. We are confident, however, that all who are listed are truly top doctors.

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Reader Comments:
Sep 15, 2009 09:14 pm
 Posted by  Love my "not listed" doctors

This list is clearly biased--on gender. I have been a patient at two practices (Ochsner OB/GYN and BR Clinic) for many years and have received excellent care from a number of doctors from both practices. However, many excellent female doctors are notably absent from this list.

And based on how this list is compiled, I can see why the female doctors would be missing. This list is based on peer reviews--"who's who." One male OB/GYN on this list, for instance, flies around the country giving training sessions. His female counterparts in that same OB/GYN practice do not. They have families and spend their time with their families instead of jetting off to be a speaker at a conference. All excellent doctors, but they just spend their free time in different pursuits. That may not be the only reason why a doctor is or is not on this list, but it certainly would contribute to the rankings.

My advice to anyone reviewing this list is realize it's just one of many tools available to find good care. If your doctor is on the list, great. If your doctor is not on list, make your own decisions. Personally, my doctors aren't on this list, and I am 100% ok with that. They share my values of family first, which is why they'll never make this list. And that's ok by me.

Sep 15, 2009 09:22 pm
 Posted by  Love my "not listed" doctors

Editorial correction: my doctors share my values of family first, which means they may not make this list, and that's ok by me. In my opinion, and I'm sure there are many others who share my opinion, they are worthy of this list!!

Nov 2, 2009 02:26 pm
 Posted by  RN

Obviously the previous commentor did not look through the whole list. There are many female physicians listed. I would guess the percentage correlates to the actual number of female physicians in Louisiana.
I did suspect that physicians in the same office or clinic just nominated each other. I agree you must choose the best according to your own opinion or... you could ask a nurse! They usually know!

Dec 2, 2009 01:29 am
 Posted by  1234

i am prashanth from bangalore,i am 33 years ,met with byke accident last feburary 23 2008 , i am not able to walk,my left side is fully paralised due to brain steam injury,i was happy & thank god that i am alive, i was treated in wokchord hospital,dr rajkumar like god he did my operation & was successful.,but he had told i will take 5 to 6 years to get up from wheel chair , i have got up from wheel chair 5 months back,jnow i am coming to office , i am coming because i have a strong will power, i also want to earn from my family , i am into parallel banking, i emailed u , i want to walk on my own after a short while. how best can u help mre.mail me or call on 9844352222.my mobile,regards,prashanth.

Aug 4, 2010 01:50 am
 Posted by  high expectations

I am accessing this list in desperation. I have had fantastic doctors in New Orleans--all of them appear on this list.

I have since moved outside of Lafayette, and I find my doctors mediocre in comparison. They do not seem attentive, and some do not even see the patient during the entire visit. The assistant takes care of everything.

I hope this list can help me find quality doctors in this new area. It is hard to get good references because many people have few expectations, and accept whatever care they receive. They have never had better.

Aug 23, 2010 01:23 pm
 Posted by  newly pregnant

Help! I've just moved to Covington, LA and--am 5 weeks pregnant. I have no idea how to find a fabulous OB doc. When I don't know anyone to refer me. Any ideas?

Aug 23, 2010 01:26 pm
 Posted by  newly pregnant

Can you reccommend your OB to me--I'll be in Covington, LA

Aug 23, 2010 02:31 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Two of our Top Doctors in the field of Obstetrics are in the Covington area -- Dr. Patricia S. Brady with Women's Cancer Care in Covington and Dr. Steven Noel Taylor at the Fertility Institute of New Orleans in Mandeville. When calling, tell them you saw their listings in New Orleans Magazine's Top Doctors feature.

Oct 18, 2010 09:09 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

I have a problem with a residence strand of bacteria and am in dire need of helpif anyone knows of a infectious disease specialist in north Louisiana around Alexandria or Shreveport That can help me That would be excellent this is miserable HELP!!!!!!

Oct 28, 2010 01:01 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

CONGRATULATIONS ABBAS E. ABBAS! GO BUCKEYES!
Dr. Abbas cared for my father and made a horrible situation more tolerable. We were sad when Abbas left OHIO STATE but I can see that he is still giving excellent care to those in need. The people of Louisiana are blessed to have such a fine and compassionate surgeon on staff.

My father has since past from his cancer but with Dr. Abbas' knowledge and skills we enjoyed years and not months. We will forever be grateful to him for his help.

ABBAS E. ABBAS We love you. The family of Peter Barnhart (07/2008).

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