America’s Top Doctors®. Every doctor wants to be one. The prestige. The glory. The acclaim.
On the surface this accolade sounds so wonderful, so comforting. Just to know your health care is being delivered by one of The Best®. (I thought I’d trademark that term).
You see, that little ® symbol means that certain corporate gnomes called Castle Connolly Medical Ltd. have paid to protect the term “America’s Top Doctors®.” I guess they're afraid someone might want to steal this term and change it into “My Hospital Paid For Me to be Listed as one of America’s Top Doctors®.”
To really search their database of presumed America’s Top Doctors®, you have to pay these corporate gnomes – that is unless you want to see the doctors from certain centers that have already paid to be sure you see their doctors. Then you can search their database to see those carefully chosen doctors are chosen not only by doctor peers, but by hospital administrators that want their doctors to look good to America.
I guess I can stand patients rating doctors – after all, they’re the consumers of health care. But when companies are paid as fronts for hospital systems to preferentially promote their physicians as “America’s Top Doctors®,” the ethical nature of this practice is suspect at best.
But their data stinks, too. I tried to find an America’s Top Doctor in Illinois who practiced as a Cardiac Electrophysiologist. Guess how many were there?
Amazing. Only one Top American Cardiac Electrophysiologist Doctor® exists in Illinois (I didn’t pay to see if it was me).
But then I saw this press release about how their also providing searches about disciplinary actions against doctors in 46 states. You can click on their website and get the information.
I wonder if they’ve filtered the data the same way they’ve filtered the Top Doctor data as a means of skewing public opinion about a competing health care systems that have not paid to be included in their database.
You see, once they make differential displays of data that are dependent on receiving payments to view their database, the potential for manipulating what is displayed is unlimited and limits credibility of the data displayed.
But then, they don’t care about accuracy. They just care about the money.