The Columbus Dispatch and WBNS-TV (Channel 10) conducted their fifth "Docs Rate Docs" mail survey from June 16 through June 30, 2010. The news organizations conducted similar surveys in 1999, 2001, 2004 and 2007.
Using a database obtained from the Ohio State Medical Board, The Dispatch and WBNS sent the most recent survey to 5,698 doctors — every licensed physician in Franklin, Delaware, Fairfield, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties. The mailing list was current as of June 14, 2010. The survey posed a single question: "If you or a family member needed treatment in the following medical specialties, which central Ohio physicians would you seek out or recommend?"
The doctors were asked to list one physician for each of the specialties: allergies and immunology; bariatric surgery; cardiology; cardiovascular surgery; cosmetic surgery; dermatology; ear, nose and throat; gastroenterology; infertility; laser eye surgery; neurology; obstetrics/gynecology; oncology; ophthalmology; orthopedic surgery; pediatrics; primary care; psychiatry; sports medicine; and urology.
The doctors filled out and returned 221 detachable, postage-paid ballots, an adjusted response rate of 3.9 percent.
Like all surveys, "Docs Rate Docs" is subject to possible errors, including data-entry mistakes. It also can be affected by nonresponse bias, in which responses don't necessarily reflect the views of those who didn't respond. Only the official ballots distributed The Dispatch and WBNS were tabulated; reproductions were not counted.
In addition, if a ballot listed a physician deemed "inactive" by the Ohio State Medical Board, as of July 1, 2010, that physician was not included.
The physician mailing list was compiled by Julie Albert of The Dispatch. The mailing of the survey was overseen by Ginny Hoffman of The Dispatch, and the resulting data entry was done by Rochelle Young of WBNS. The database was created by Victor Black of The Dispatch.
The survey was designed, conducted and financed solely by The Dispatch and WBNS. The inclusion of a physician in the "Docs Rate Docs" rankings does not constitute an endorsement by those news organizations.