Objectives The choice of doctor is an important issue for patients with cancer, and the reputation of the doctor is the single most important factor for patients to choose a doctor. Media are providing information about the ‘best cancer doctor’, but they vary widely in their selection methodology. We investigated cancer physicians’ attitudes towards the selection of the ‘best cancer doctor’ by the media, by comparing two different selection methodologies: selection by media personnel or selection through peer-review system. Design Nationwide, cross-sectional survey. Setting National Cancer Center and 12 Regional Cancer Centers across Korea. Participants A total of 680 cancer care physicians participated in the survey (75.5% participation rate), and two were excluded due to incomplete response. Main outcome measures Physicians’ opinions on the credibility, fairness, validity, helpfulness to patients, their intention to use the information and helpfulness to improve the quality of cancer care of the two different methods. Results Only a few physicians believed that the selection method of the ‘best cancer doctor’ by the media personnel was credible (9.1%), fair (6.1%) or valid (10.0%). In contrast, the majority agreed that the peer-selection method of the ‘best doctor’ is credible (74.7%), fair (64.7%) and valid (67.4%). More physicians believed the latter methods would be useful for patients when selecting their doctor (38.5% vs 82.2%) and may lead to improvement of the quality of cancer care from the perspective of the healthcare system (12.6% vs 59.8%). The need for ensuring objectiveness and transparency was also raised. Conclusion Physicians showed different attitudes towards two different selection methods. Regulations or guidelines for selecting the ‘best cancer doctor’ and for disclosing the information should be considered in order to control the quality of the information and to protect the customers.
Oncology, Open access, Research methods