2011 Top Doctors: Methodology

For this year’s list of Top Doctors, New Jersey Monthly commissioned an independent survey by Leflein Associates, a New Jersey-owned research firm in Ringwood. A total of 22,330 New Jersey-based doctors were invited to give their recommendations for this year’s list.

Here’s how the survey was conducted. On February 4, 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 names and license numbers to avoid duplicate voting.

Overall, 1,236 mail and 3,446 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, 3,863 non-duplicated responses were validated for use in the survey for a response rate of 17%. This represents a significant increase from last year’s response rate of 11.8%—due in part to an improved online form with instant license-number validation.

Once all the eligible votes were tallied, doctors with sufficient votes were placed on a preliminary list. A handful of doctors then were excluded because of prior disciplinary actions. Next, the preliminary list was submitted for professional review to a panel of 18 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 785 Top Doctors was determined, representing 64 medical specialties.

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