In its debut issue, D Moms presents D Magazine’s list of the area’s best doctors for children, as chosen by their peers. Here’s a look at the methodology behind the selection process, with a link to the complete roster for 2012.
How does D Magazine determine which doctors make the list?
Best Pediatric Specialists is a peer-review voting process. We rely on the doctors’ expertise to determine who deserves to be on the list, just like a doctor would recommend a patient to a specialist. This year, we mailed letters to 2,339 local pediatric specialists, family medicine doctors, and gynecologists/obstetricians from our online directory inviting them to vote using a ballot on our website. They can vote for up to three specialists in 22 categories. The nomination form asked them to cast a vote bearing in mind the following question: which Dallas pediatric specialist would you recommend to your family members? This year, 210 doctors voted. We vetted each voter’s Texas medical license number. Our research editor tallied the votes. We presented the tallied list to a panel of esteemed pediatric specialists. The panel and D staff reviewed the tallied results and chose the finalists based on the number of votes in each category. Once the list was finalized, D confirmed each specialist’s Texas medical license status and board certification and investigated his disciplinary status.
How do you pick the categories?
We do not include Pediatric Specialists in our annual Best Doctors list, as it’s big enough to warrant its own list. The list is designed with the patient in mind. We don’t include specialists in which the patient has little or no say, such as anesthesiology. We present the categories to our panel of doctors to ensure we’re not leaving out a worthy category.
Do doctors have to pay to be on the list?
No, a doctor cannot pay to be on the list. After the editorial staff finalizes the list, it’s given to our sales department, which invites doctors to buy profiles. Those profiles appear elsewhere in the magazine, labeled as advertising. But whether the doctors advertise has no bearing on the list. The editorial department doesn’t know who purchased a profile in the magazine until the magazine is in final production.
How does the panel process work?
A panel of esteemed physicians reviews the list. The panel is anonymous to encourage open discussion. If the panel says that a pediatric specialist with a lot of votes is nonetheless not worthy of this recognition due to poor performance or any other reason, D staff investigates the doctor’s disciplinary action further. If a doctor who is a leader in his field didn’t receive enough votes, the panel can recommend that the doctor be added to the list. Final decisions are deferred to D Magazine editors.
Does D Magazine check the doctors on the list?
Yes, each doctor is checked against the Texas Medical Board’s database for pending disciplinary action and license status. If a doctor is currently being investigated, we remove the doctor. If a doctor has past action on his record, we investigate further on a case-by-case basis. A fact checker calls each doctor to verify specialty and correct spelling of name. Doctors are removed if they have moved out of the Dallas area or have stopped seeing patients.
How do you prevent cheating?
Our online ballot records each voter’s IP address. If we notice a suspicious pattern—a block of votes from the same IP address, for instance—we investigate. There have been instances where doctors were taken off the list due to ballot stuffing either by the doctor himself or by a doctor’s hospital.
What if my doctor isn’t on the list?
This list is by no means inclusive. If you don’t see your doctor here, and he is someone you like and trust, continue seeing him. If your doctor made the list last year but not this year, it doesn’t mean you should stop seeing him. The process selection starts over every year.
Click for the full Best Pediatricians in Dallas list for 2012. Here are links to the D Moms site or the D Moms Daily blog.