For this year’s list of Top Doctors, New Jersey Monthly commissioned an independent survey by Leflein Associates, a locally owned research firm in Ringwood. A total of 23,444 New Jersey-based doctors were invited to give recommendations of the physicians they would choose to treat their own family members.
Here’s how the survey was conducted. On January 24, 2014, a questionnaire was mailed to all New Jersey-based physicians who have been licensed by the state for at least five years. The mailing list, which is used by the state Board of Medical Examiners for licensing purposes, was obtained from the New Jersey Department of Consumer Affairs. Respondents could return the original paper questionnaire or complete the questionnaire online. Web survey participants were required to enter their license number to avoid duplicate voting.
Overall, 987 mail and 3,551 web responses were received. A check for non-duplication and invalid or duplicate license numbers prevented ballot stuffing. Photocopies, duplicate online entries and surveys from ineligible participants were disqualified.
In the end, 3,092 non-duplicated responses were validated for use in the survey for a response rate of 16 percent.
Once all the eligible votes were tallied, doctors with sufficient votes were placed on a preliminary list. A handful of doctors were then excluded because of prior disciplinary actions. Next, the preliminary list was submitted for professional review to a panel of 25 doctors. The doctors on the panel were chosen from among top vote getters in last year’s survey. In the review process, the final list of 989 Top Doctors was determined, representing 68 medical specialties.