MEDICAL ADVICE: Books Rating Doctors are Hot Items
Eager to scout out the best doctors, New Yorkers are turning out in droves to metropolitan bookstores, where they find a "battle of the books" that pits a professional and his research team against an upstart who criss-crosses Central Park asking sunbathing women about their gynecologists. On the one hand, Dr. John Connolly's 1,374-page book -- "How to Find the Best Doctors: New York Metro Area" -- lists New York's highest-rated doctors based on questionnaires sent to 28,000 doctors, nurses and hospital administrators. Connolly and his team rely on the surveys to churn out a ranking of more than 6,000 New York metropolitan-area doctors, which has become a "staple of doctor's offices and human resources departments" since its first edition in 1994. The book "offer[s] no hint about the demeanor of the doctors," focusing instead on a formulaic list of medical schools, fellowships and areas of expertise. By contrast, Richard Topp excluded doctors' interviews entirely, which he says "is precisely what gives his book, 'The Manhattan Doctor Guide: New York's Most Talked About Physicians,' the edge." Topp argues that patients are the best judges of bedside manner, and his book, written from his Upper East Side apartment, offers consumer analyses along with the doctor's name, fee schedule and phone number. Both books are cashing in on a hot market, said a spokesperson for the Barnes & Noble bookstore chain, noting that in New York City, medical advice books "are among thefastest-growing categories in terms of sales" (Kuczynski, New York Times, 3/25).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.