Here’s how the survey was conducted. On April 5, 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 name and license number to avoid duplication.
Overall, 1,361 mail and 3,532 web responses were received. A check for non-duplication and invalid license numbers prevented ballot stuffing. Photocopies, duplicate online entries, and surveys from ineligible participants were disqualified.
In the end, 2,539 non-duplicated responses were validated for use in the survey for a response rate of 11.8%. This represents a slight decline from last year’s rate due to increased diligence in eliminating ineligible ballots.
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 24 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 647 Top Doctors was determined, representing 57 medical specialties.