How hard could it be to find a good doctor in New York? After all, there are five accredited medical schools, 72 hospitals, and 41,447 physicians in the city. (And that doesn’t even include the wider metropolitan area.) The problem is knowing how to choose among them. You want not just competent care but the best – a doctor who’s on top of all the cutting-edge research; a doctor who has access to experimental drugs and uses the least invasive new technologies; a doctor who will treat you like an intelligent person, not just a bundle of symptoms. In short, you want a cross between Louis Pasteur and Doug Ross. What follows is by no means a definitive list of every great, caring healer in town, but it is a safe and reliable place to begin the search.
To put together a new list of the city’s best doctors, New York teamed up with Castle Connolly Medical, a research andpublishing firm that annually surveys the New York medical community and publishes a popular guide, How to Find theBest Doctors: New York Metro Area. Though their guidesusually contain nearly 6,000 names, this time we asked Castle Connolly to narrow the focus even further and create a list comprising the “best of the best.” We weren’t necessarily looking for the biggest names or the heads of prestigious departments (though you will find many of them here); we wanted the most caring, the most responsible, and the most knowledgeable practitioners around. The preliminary survey, sent to more than 28,000 doctors, nurses, hospital executives, and leading specialists in the greater metropolitan area, asked one essential question: Who would you send a member of your own family to see?
More than 3,000 surveys were returned, and the process of reviewing the nominees’ credentials began. To supplement the initial round, another 600 leading specialists and other health-care professionals were consulted and asked for further recommendations. After compiling the data, Castle Connolly narrowed the selection to approximately 6,000 names, and from there, we picked the top vote-getters in the city to arrive at the following list of more than 1,200 doctors in all five boroughs, chosen by their peers as the best in their fields.
Over the past several weeks, the doctors were asked to verify their basic information and to supply any additional subspecialties or other special interests that they wished to be included after their name. They also were asked which of the major HMOs they accept, and these appear in each listing after the doctor’s hospital affiliation (if any). It is important to remember that the HMO information is only a partial list (dozens of smaller managed-care plans were excluded because of space limitations), and affiliated plans, which are always subject to change, should be confirmed by phone. (A small number of doctors still refuse to accept any managed-care plans, and others declined to give us the names of those they accept. In those cases, no HMOs are listed.)
For convenience, we divided the list into two parts so that primary-care physicians are separate from the other specialties. It’s best to start a relationship with a doctor when you are healthy, and a primary-care physician who already knows your history will be in the best position to function as gatekeeper when you need more specialized care from the medical system. (Primary care, in turn, is subdivided into four specialties – family practice, internal medicine, OB/GYN, and pediatrics.)
This year, we have also included our first medical Hall of Fame: profiles of ten doctors we think exemplify the virtues that all great doctors should have. More than anything else, these men and women set the standard by which all the doctors in this issue were judged.