My Toughest Case

Best Doctors

CRAIG MULCAHY PHOTOGRAPH

 

 

For individual profiles, please click on name below:



RANDALL CRAVER
Pathology and Pediatric Pathology

 



JANE EL-DAHR
Allergy and Immunology, Pediatric Allergy and Immunology and Pediatric Rheumatology

 



CARL LAVIE
Cardiologist

 



JANE WEISS
Opthamology

 



HOWARD WETSMAN
Addiction Medicine

 

 
 

 

 

Q&A

We know someone who recently had to select an oncologist. He had no idea who to choose, so he settled on the person located closest to his office. That choice might have been good for convenience but not necessarily for quality. That is why it’s important to have some type of reference to doctors. There is nothing that we do that we take as seriously as presenting our readers with a list of recommended doctors. This is one area where we never want to be wrong. We know there’s no perfect way to determine the city’s best physicians, but we use a service that we feel is as good as possible. Before you make any decision about physicians based on this list, please be aware of the following:

How were the Best Doctors selected? We partner with Best Doctors Inc., a global health company headquartered in Boston, which serves more than 30 million members in every major region of the world, and works with the best five percent of doctors practicing in the United States to find the right diagnoses and treatment plans. Best Doctors surveys doctors nationwide, asking them for an assessment of the clinical abilities of their peers, and yielding highly qualitative insight into the medical profession. Each physician’s credentials and disciplinary actions are checked as well as their clinical activity. The Best Doctors in America® database includes doctors in 45 specialties and over 400 subspecialties of medicine.

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 related specialties, and to make additional nominations. As new names are added to the pool, each undergoes the same peer-evaluation process.

The company has developed software to identify methodological biases: for example, to detect and correct for suspect voting patterns and to weigh votes according to the ratings of the doctors providing the input.

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.

Why do some hospitals seem to have such a preponderance of doctors listed? Because they have so many doctors. As hospitals expand and open more facilities, their number of doctors increases. Through the years the dominant hospitals have shifted and they may shift again in the future. The Best Doctors in America® represents the top five percent of physicians practicing in the country and includes many department heads, chiefs of staff and doctors in other major positions at the largest medical centers and health systems nationwide.

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’s where the survey gets some of its most outspoken evaluations – good and bad.

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

• All of the voting is strictly confidential.

• Once a consensus of peer support is achieved, additional research is conducted on credentials, disciplinary actions and clinical activity.

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


How many doctors were surveyed? As part of its nationwide survey, the company interviewed over 45,000 doctors. Research was conducted for this list from June through October 2010. This is the most recent, credible survey of doctors. Research began in June 2012 for the 2013 list.

Are the surveys administered randomly? No. To get opinions with weight and professional credibility, Best Doctors consults the very best. Researchers contact all current physicians on the list, which includes 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 20-plus years it has administered the survey, providing a 54 percent response rate.

Where is the bias? There is no perfect, bias-free way to conduct a ranking of any sort. Though Best Doctors has refined its techniques to eliminate biases through the years, 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 profession or those who haven’t had much peer interaction will sometimes get less recognition. The breadth and the depth of the voting pool help to eliminate biases and cronyism that might be reflected in smaller surveys. In addition to the peer evaluation, Best Doctors conducts research on each physician’s credentials, disciplinary actions and clinical activity to determine selections.

How were the medical categories used in this selection determined?  Best Doctors selected them based on AMA (American Medical Association) and ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) recognized specialties. There are also doctors selected for the list who were trained outside the United States that are recognized by their peers and meet Best Doctors qualification criteria.

How were the five doctors who are profiled in this section selected?

The editorial staff of New Orleans Magazine selected them. We tried to choose people who represented a variety of specialties.

Is this the definitive list? No. We have no doubt that there are many worthy doctors who weren’t included in the list. We are confident, however, that all who are listed are truly among the best doctors.

 

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