GUEST POST – Brendan McAdams
As part of our ongoing effort to profile the top doctors and medical institutions for specific medical conditions, Expertscape had the good fortune of drawing the attention of Amy/PCOS Diva when we profiled the leaders in polycystic ovary syndrome research and treatment. As expected, the interest generated a lot of attention, commentary, and enthusiastic support for several of the doctors profiled (and some that weren’t). And it also generated a handful of questions that came up repeatedly, particularly regarding how Expertscape works, how are doctors and institutions ranked, and how do I use it to find a doctor? So, let’s take each of these in order.
What is Expertscape and how does it work?
Basically, Expertscape analyzes, scores and ranks experts based on the medical literature specific to a given medical topic. We analyze the PubMed database using patented algorithms, and then present that information in a way that is meaningful and useful to the healthcare consumer. Basically, it allows them to search, study and then ultmately contact knowledgeable, experienced experts specific to their medical problem and their geography.
Why use research and publications?
There are a number of reasons for this. First, it is highly likely that the most knowledgeable experts on a given subject are doing research, teaching, seeing tough cases, and sharing their findings. This doesn’t mean that a doctor that isn’t publishing isn’t highly capable, but rather just that they’re relatively invisible to our approach because they aren’t actively and formally sharing their knowledge. Second, the approach is data-driven and thus highly objective. The literature in the PubMed database is peer-reviewed and quantifiable, so it’s essentially immune to bias. Third, this approach allows our scoring to be concentrated on the exact condition or medical term. And this is important because the thought leaders in the field of ovarian cysts are not the same people that are on the forefront of pancreatic cyst medicine. And fourth, this approach allows us to cover the world. As much as Americans like to think we’re the world leaders in all matters of health science(and we often are), there is ground-breaking work done across the globe. Look no farther than the leading institutions and experts in PCOS and you’ll quickly notice that the distribution of knowledge includes Greece, Spain, Italy, Australia, and Great Britain.
How do you rank doctors?
We rank experts based on the quality and quantity of their medical publications. In the case of PCOS, we consider a number of criteria specific to medical literature published where polycystic ovary syndrome is categorized as a major topic, and then use algorithms and data analysis to score and rank the experts. In most cases, we use the most recent ten years articles, and the rankings may change from month to month as older publications fall off and new research is added. This keeps the search results current and has the added benefit of not allowing experts to rest on their past work.
How do I find a doctor?
In the same way that you wouldn’t use Expertscape to find someone to diagnose your child’s ear ache or find a primary care physician, you likely don’t need us if you’re having good results with the specialist attending to you now. But if you’re not getting better, or have a family history or particular genetic concerns, or worry about your daughters and are looking to understand potential care strategies, it may warrant a second opinion from someone who devotes their focus to PCOS research and treatment.
So, how might you find this doctor? If you’re fortunate enough to live within a comfortable travel range of a top expert, the search is relatively easy. Clicking on the name of an expert brings you to their page, allowing you to see who this person is, examine their articles, review where they have worked and what their affiliations are, and use the phone icon to connect directly to the institutional directory. (Currently, the directory link is enabled for U.S. institutions only. That, and other information and search features, will be expanded in the weeks and months ahead. In the meantime, those searching for experts outside the U.S. can usually find the expert using the Google search button to the right of the institution name.)
But what to do if you’ve drilled down into your travel area (e.g. Toledo, Ohio) and there isn’t an expert to contact? (Expertscape posts notices for those in the listing with limited expertise, and the horizontal bar to the left of the name is another reliable indicator.) In such cases, you can certainly expand your travel range so that other physician options are possible, but that may be impractical. Another option is to contact one or more PCOS experts and ask for a recommendation for someone in your area. It is highly likely that the expert and office staff are accustomed to this request, and have either worked with or trained or otherwise collaborate with doctors in your area. There is considerable enthusiasm and incentive for physicians to be able to provide thoughtful recommendations, and most are willing and prepared for this inquiry. And because Expertscape focuses on experts that do research and publish, there are many excellent practitioners that are invisible to us but are well-known to those that spend their energy focused on the cutting edge of PCOS research and treatment.
Finally, armed with this information, chances are you will want to circle back to the PCOS Diva website or Facebook page to see what others know about this or that physician. The insight and direct experience of those that share your circumstances can be both invaluable and reassuring, and it can be quite amazing to hear their personal, heartfelt stories. In the case of PCOS, the stories we’ve read since profiling the top doctors and hospitals clearly confirm that expert physicians are often wonderful human beings as well. We hope that your experience is as helpful and satisfying as others have had, and we would welcome the chance to hear your stories and have you share your experience.
Brendan McAdams is the Managing Partner of Expertscape, a healthcare search and ranking website that makes it quick and easy to find the most knowledgeable doctors and medical centers for thousands of medical conditions and topics anywhere in the world, objectively and without bias. With over 20 years of experience in healthcare, his focus has been on helping health systems, accountable care organizations, and health plans use information technology to better serve consumers. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.