The New York Times recently wrote a story about what it means to be a “Top Doctor”:
The official letter is sitting on my desk, announcing that a relative of mine has just been named one of the world’s top physicians in his area of expertise. Once he confirms his biographical details, he is guaranteed inclusion in online and print directories of similarly honored peers (“not only a tribute to your success, but also a valuable resource for potential patients”).
I can clearly imagine his reaction had he opened the letter himself: a combination of amusement, dismay and just a small hint of pleasure. However, since he has been dead for 16 years, his widow passed the envelope over to me, and I got to experience all those emotions myself.
The amusement and dismay speak for themselves. The pleasure lay in this really superb demonstration that skepticism should attend all interactions with services promising to lead you through the thickets of subpar and merely average doctors directly to best of breed.
I can understand this perfectly well. Town and Country magazine rated me one of the nation’s top concierge doctors a few years ago. They sent me a copy of the magazine congratulating me on my success. They even ran a small story on me and my practice. The problem was, I hadn’t practiced medicine in the 4 years leading up to the publication.
So what does it mean to be a top doctor? Here’s what we think it means.