Top Doctors 2009 FAQ

The 2009 Top Doctors list, and how we build it.

It’s one of the toughest questions you will ever face: Which doctors do I want to treat my family? Each year, New Jersey Monthly commissions a poll that asks that question of the doctors themselves. Based on their votes, we offer this year’s list of 609 Top Doctors in 60 different specialties. It’s just one of the resources we hope our readers will use when choosing among New Jersey’s more than 20,000 physicians.

Q. How do doctors get on the list?

A. To compile the list, New Jersey Monthly commissions a survey by the Polling Institute at Monmouth University in West Long Branch. The complete methodology used in the survey can be viewed here, but here it is in a nutshell: Monmouth mails a questionnaire to every doctor licensed in New Jersey for at least five years. Each of the doctors is asked to vote for physicians he or she would choose to treat him or herself or a family member. Monmouth tallies the votes and provides the results to New Jersey Monthly.

Q. How many doctors vote?

A. This year, 3,224 valid responses were received. That’s a response rate of 16 percent.

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Q. Can they vote online?

A. Yes. More than half of the surveys were completed online.

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Q. How do you guard against ballot stuffing?

A. Photocopies and duplicate ballots are ruled invalid to prevent ballot stuffing. Online voters must give their names or license numbers to prevent duplicate voting.

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Q. How many votes does a doctor need to appear on the list?

A. It depends. Most categories have a standard threshold based on the overall number of doctors. The threshold is lowered for certain pediatric and surgical specialties, where the universe of practitioners is smaller.

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Q. I have a great doctor. Why isn’t she on the list?

A. We hear that a lot. Unfortunately, we do not add doctors to the list based on reader suggestions. The list is based purely on the balloting by the doctors. Our advice: If you are happy with your personal docs, stay with them.

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Q. Don’t the same docs make the list every year?

A. Many of the doctors repeat, as would be expected of the state’s finest physicians. However, this year’s list also includes 229 doctors who were not on the list last year.

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Q. I notice some of the doctors advertise in this issue. Is that a factor in appearing on the list?

A. Absolutely not. Only after the the list has been finalized are doctors notified. At that point they can choose to purchase advertising to promote the achievement. Many of these ads appear in the Special Advertising Section of the print edition of the magazine.

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Q. What if there is a disciplinary action against a doctor?

A. Any doctor who has a disciplinary action currently reported by the state Medical Examiner is excluded from the list.

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Q. So, how do doctors get their pictures on the cover?

A. The seven docs on this year’s cover were chosen by the editorial department from among those with the most votes in their specialties. We think they are a great-looking group that represents the diversity of New Jersey’s Top Doctors.

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