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January 18, 1980

The Best Doctors in the U.S.: A Guide to the Finest Specialist Hospitals and Health Centers

JAMA. 1980;243(3):270. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300290050027

The title of this book should alert those knowledgeable about medical care that it contains little or no information of practical value. The criteria by which to judge one physician as expert and good and another as inexpert and poor have yet to be agreed on. One can make judgments about university affiliation, service on expert committees, length of bibliography, or academic title, but when added together these factors do not separate the sheep from the goats.

The list of physicians in this book reads like a directory of section chiefs and department chairmen in the 120 US medical schools. But such folks, many of whom I know and count among my friends, are not necessarily the best. One can feel confident, however, that they would not rank among the worst.

Actually, the best medical care is given not only in university centers but also in nonacademic centers and in