Click below to listen to our Consumerpedia podcast episode on how to find a top doctor.

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:

  • Physicians most often recognized by their peers—We regularly send surveys to all actively practicing physicians in the seven metro areas where we publish Consumers’ Checkbook magazine—the Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Seattle-Tacoma, Twin Cities, and Washington, DC, areas—and ask them to tell us which one or two doctors in each of 38 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 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.

Our ratings indicate what “board certifications,” if any, each doctor holds. Board certification means that a physician has taken several years of practical training in a field after graduating from medical school and has passed a difficult exam in that field. Our article “Does It Matter If Your Doctor Is Board Certified?” further discusses the certification process—and efforts by boards to ensure physicians maintain knowledge in order to remain certified.