About U.S. News Top Doctors

The online release will happen this July.

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This July, U.S. News will release U.S. News Top Doctors, an online editorial project developed in collaboration with Castle Connolly Medical Ltd., publisher of America's Top Doctors and other guides.

The goal of U.S. News Top Doctors is to help guide consumers to top specialists and primary care doctors in their area who can best address their specific medical needs. Top Doctors differs from U.S. News rankings like Best Hospitals, Best Diets, and Best Colleges in important respects. A key difference is that physicians will not be ranked. No single cardiologist, oncologist, or other specialist can be the No. 1 doctor for all patients with heart disease, cancer, or any other medical condition. Fundamentally, Top Doctors will be a data-rich directory of excellent doctors, coupled with sophisticated searching and sorting tools, to help each consumer find the doctor who's right for his or her needs.

Will U.S. News numerically rank doctors the way it ranks Best Hospitals?

No. Top Doctors will be listed in a searchable directory.

How will U.S. News determine which physicians qualify as Top Doctors?

U.S. News has teamed up with Castle Connolly, a New York City-based company that has been working for nearly two decades to identify the nation's top doctors. Castle Connolly bases its Top Doctors selections on nominations submitted by other doctors and reviewed by its physician-led research team. U.S. News will make information about each Top Doctor freely available to the general public.

Can a doctor pay to be named a Top Doctor?

No. Doctors do not and cannot pay U.S. News or Castle Connolly to be recognized as Top Doctors. Nor can hospitals or group medical practices pay to have their doctors recognized.

Do doctors apply to be Top Doctors?

No. There is no application process. Any doctor may nominate one or more peers, but doctors cannot nominate themselves.

How can I nominate a doctor?

When Top Doctors launches on usnews.com, it will feature a link to a nomination page where any doctor in the country can begin the process of nominating other doctors. Participating physicians will be required to provide a valid National Provider Identifier number and other basic identifying information to enable Castle Connolly to verify that the nominator is a licensed physician.

Does Top Doctors recognize all of the nation's best physicians?

Not yet. At launch, U.S. News Top Doctors will identify more than 27,000 of the top doctors in America, based on data from Castle Connolly. In some towns, however, a Top Doctor has not yet been identified, or Top Doctors have been identified in some medical specialties but not others. An absence of data does not mean there are no doctors worthy of recognition. The nomination process mentioned above will help us gradually to fill in those gaps, based on input from doctors across the country who visit usnews.com and nominate their peers.

Will the Best Hospitals rankings be affected by the number of Top Doctors at each hospital?

No. The Best Hospitals rankings methodology is completely separate from Top Doctors. Neither affects the other.

Will Top Doctors be shown by specialty, and if so, will the specialties match those U.S. News uses to rank hospitals?

Users of usnews.com will be able to search for Top Doctors in dozens of medical specialties that parallel those recognized by the American Board of Medical Specialties. Some Best Hospitals rankings, such as those in neurology and neurosurgery, combine more than one of these specialties.

How can I get information about Top Doctors that's not answered here?

You can email doctors@usnews.com. The answers to other frequently asked questions will be posted here.