Because physicians are at the center of patients’ health-care experiences, your choices of physicians are the most important decisions you make in determining the quality of medical care you will receive.

Our databases on physician quality provide:

  • Ratings of doctors for surgical outcomes—Preventable medical errors of various kinds kill at least 200,000 Americans each year, making this the third leading cause of death in the United States, six times as many deaths as from auto accidents. One way to reduce such errors is for consumers to choose the best surgeons. At, you'll find the surgeons we could identify as having better-than-average outcomes for 14 types of high-risk surgery. These are the first-ever nationwide ratings of surgeons for patient outcomes, based on our analysis of government data of more than 5 million surgeries done by more than 50,000 surgeons. We found big surgeon-to-surgeon differences.
  • Physicians most often recognized by their peers—We regularly send surveys to all actively practicing physicians in the 53 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S. and ask them to tell us which one or two doctors in each of 35 or more different specialty fields they “would consider most desirable for care of a loved one.” Our database reveals the names of physicians who were mentioned most often by other area physicians—and the number of times they were mentioned.
  • Patient ratings of primary care physicians—Patients looking for primary care physicians in the areas where we publish Consumers' Checkbook magazine—the Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Twin Cities, and Washington, DC, areas—can also review how doctors were rated by surveyed patients. Patients are the best source of information on many aspects of physician quality, including how well doctors listen, explain things, help patients coordinate care among other healthcare providers, and make themselves accessible for appointments and advice. These aspects of care are critical to prevention, to accurate diagnoses, and to a patient’s ability and motivation to do his or her part in carrying out a plan of care.