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Physicians’ attitudes towards the media and peer-review selection of the ‘best cancer doctor’: comparison of two different selection methods
  1. Dong Wook Shin1,2,3,
  2. Juhee Cho4,5,
  3. Hyung Kook Yang6,
  4. So Young Kim6,7,
  5. Soohyeon Lee8,
  6. Eun Joo Nam6,
  7. Joo Seop Chung9,
  8. Jeong-Soo Im10,
  9. Keeho Park6,
  10. Jong Hyock Park6,11
  1. 1 Department of Family Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, South Korea
  2. 2 Supportive Care Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, Seoul, South Korea
  3. 3 Department of Digital Health, SAIHST, Sungkyunkwan University, Seoul, South Korea
  4. 4 Department of Health, Behavior and Society & Epidemiology, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
  5. 5 Cancer Education Center, Samsung Comprehensive Cancer Center, SAHIST and School of Medicine, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
  6. 6 Division of Health Policy and Management, National Cancer Control Institute, National Cancer Center, Goyang, South Korea
  7. 7 Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Chungbuk National University Hospital, Cheongju, South Korea
  8. 8 Division of medical oncology, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, South Korea
  9. 9 Department of Hemato-Oncology, Pusan National University Hospital, Busan, South Korea
  10. 10 Department of Preventive Medicine, Gachon Medical School, Incheon, South Korea
  11. 11 College of Medicine/Graduate School of Health Science Business Convergence, Chungbuk National University, Cheongju, South Korea
  1. Correspondence to Dr Jong Hyock Park; jonghyock{at}


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.

  • best cancer doctor
  • selection
  • reputation
  • oncology
  • media

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  • Contributors Study concept and design: DWS, JHP and SYK. Acquisition of data: JHP, HKY, JSC, J-SI, EJN and SYK. Analysis and interpretation of data: JHP, SYK, DWS, JC and HKY. Drafting of the manuscript: DWS, JC, SYK and HKY. Statistical analysis: JHP, SYK and DWS. Obtained funding: JHP. Administrative, technical or material support: JHP, J-SI, JSC, KP, HKY and SL. Critical review revision of manuscripts: DWS, JC, HKY, SYK, SL, EJN, JSC, J-SI, KP and JHP.

  • Funding This work was supported by a grant of the National R&D Program for Cancer Control, (No 1210150) and supported by the research grant of the Chungbuk National University in 2014 and the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korea government (MSIP) No2016R1A2B4011045. The funding agreement ensured the authors’ independence in designing the study, interpreting the data, writing, and publishing the report.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Next of kin consent obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement The datasets generated during and/or analysed during the current study are not publicly available due to other ongoing research projects using the material but are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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