Frequently Asked Questions

Who picks the doctors on the list?
The local medical community does. This year, we chose roughly 5,000 doctors and 2,000 registered nurses in the tri-county area and southern Washington at random and invited them to participate in our online survey. We asked, “If you or a loved one were in need of medical help, which doctor would you choose?” Each participant could nominate one doctor in as many as 76 specialties. Of course, there were a few ground rules: you could vote only once, and you couldn’t vote for yourself (yep, we checked). The doctors who received the most votes in each field made our top docs list.

Why doesn’t your list include doctors of podiatry or alternative medicine?
Portland Monthly recognizes the contribution acupuncturists, naturopaths, chiropractors, and other doctors make to Portlanders’ health (in fact, most of our staff members make regular visits to at least one of those specialists). But for the sake of standardization, we defined “doctor” as a licensed medical doctor (MD) or a doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO).

I am a doctor and my specialty doesn’t ?appear on your list. Why not?
We chose the list of specialties primarily from those certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, in consultation with Dr. John Evans, president of the Medical Society of Metropolitan Portland. They are the ones most commonly used by patients. Space considerations also prevent us from publishing every specialty selected.

Can doctors pay to be on the list?
Absolutely not. Our top doctors are chosen based on the number of nominations they receive from the physicians invited to participate in the survey.

But how can you be sure doctors aren’t just voting for their friends?
Well, we can’t. Some bias is inevitable. While we hope that everyone is giving the question thoughtful consideration, we allow each participant one vote to cast however he or she chooses. We hope the large number of respondents (more than 1,000 this year) will eliminate the buddy effect.

If my doctor isn’t on the list, should I be concerned?
Not at all. Many good doctors don’t appear on the list. Doctors working in large hospitals, department heads, and physicians who have been practicing a long time may be better known than doctors in a small or private practice.

Do you check the doctors’ medical licenses?
Yes. Our research department independently verifies that each doctor’s license is active (at press time) and in good standing with the Oregon Medical Board.