How does D Magazine determine which doctors make the list?
Best Pediatric Specialists is a peer-review voting process. We rely on the doctors’ expertise to determine who deserves to be on the list, just like a doctor would recommend a patient to a specialist. This year, we mailed letters to 2,467 local pediatric specialists, family medicine doctors, and gynecologists/obstetricians from our online directory inviting them to vote using an online ballot on our website. They could vote for up to three specialists in 21 categories. The nomination form asked them to cast a vote bearing in mind the following question: which Dallas pediatric specialists would you rank among the current best and whom would you recommend to your family members? This year, 165 pediatric specialists and doctors voted. We vetted each voter’s Texas medical license number to ensure it was valid. Our research editor tallied the votes. We presented the tallied list to a panel of esteemed pediatric specialists. The panel and D staff reviewed the tallied results and chose the finalists based on the number of votes in each category. Once the list was finalized, D confirmed each specialist’s Texas medical license status and board certification and investigated his disciplinary status.

How do you pick the categories?
We do not include pediatric specialists in our annual Best Doctors list because it is big enough to warrant its own list. The list is designed with the patient in mind. We do not include specialties in which the patient has little or no say, such as anesthesiology or pathology. We present the categories to the panel of doctors to make certain we’re not leaving out a worthy category.

Do doctors have to pay to be on the list?
No, a doctor cannot pay to be on the list. After the editorial staff finalizes the list, it is given to our sales department, which invites doctors to buy profiles. Those profiles appear elsewhere in the magazine, labeled as paid advertising. But whether the doctors advertise has no bearing on this list. The editorial department does not know who purchased a profile until the magazine is in the final stages of production.

How does the panel process work?
A panel of esteemed physicians reviews the list. The panel is anonymous to encourage open discussion regarding the doctors on the list. If the panel says that a pediatric specialist with a lot of votes is nonetheless not worthy of this recognition due to any reason, we investigate the doctor’s disciplinary history further. If a doctor who is a leader in his field didn’t receive enough votes, the panel can recommend the doctor be added to the list. Final decisions are deferred to the editorial staff of D Magazine.
 
How do you prevent cheating?
Our online ballot records each voter’s IP address. If we notice a suspicious pattern—a block of votes all coming from the same IP address, for instance, or a high number of votes cast in a short time frame—we investigate. There have been instances where doctors were taken off the list due to ballot stuffing either by the doctor himself or by a doctor’s hospital.

Does D Magazine check the doctors on the list?
Yes, each doctor is checked against the Texas Medical Board’s database for pending disciplinary action and license status. If a doctor is currently being investigated for a pending action or on license suspension, we remove the doctor from the list. If a doctor has past disciplinary action, we investigate the action further and determine whether he stays on the list on a case-by-case basis. A D Magazine fact checker calls each doctor to verify specialty and correct spelling of name. Doctors are removed from the list if we learn that they have moved out of the Dallas area or have stopped seeing patients.

What if I don’t see my doctor on the list?
This list is by no means inclusive. If you don’t see your doctor here, and he is someone you like and trust, you should stick with him. If your doctor made the list last year but not this year, it does not mean you should stop seeing him. The process selection starts over every year.

See our list of the Best Pediatric Specialists in Dallas 2011.