How to Find the Best Doctor Using Google Scholar

This guide is directly from “The Creative Destruction of Medicine” by Eric Topol, M.D.

You need to find the best doctor in the field, but where do you go? Yesterday, this is what I would have done if I were to search for a doctor who specializes in prostate cancer:

  1. Search Google for “Best prostate cancer doctors,” or “Best prostate cancer hospitals.”
  2. Try to ignore the innumerable advertisements…
Google Search for Prostate Cancer

3. Read through the results and reviews of doctors until I find someone extremely “reputable.” Due note, that this process would take many hours.

Additionally, I would have asked my friends, family, or any other doctors I know for a recommendation.

However, as Topol discusses, doctors specialize so they probably don’t know who is the leading expert in a different discipline. As a result, they are likely going to refer a colleague. This is problematic.

Eric Topol suggests a much smarter approach:

“You need to identify the physician who conducts the leading research in the field” (51).

Here is how you find that physician:

  1. Go to Google Scholar.
  2. Search “Prostate cancer.”
  3. Look for results with many citations. They are generally listed in order by descending number of citations.
Google Scholar search for prostate cancer

Here, our top 4 results have 4204, 1238, 1127, and 1772 citations respectively.

4. Now we search these authors names on PubMed. Let’s try searching “WJ Catalona” (he’s the first author listed for the 2nd result).

5. Analyze the PubMed results:

PubMed results

On PubMed, we can see how many papers William Catalona has published: 173. Most of them pertain to prostate cancer too.

Success. We have identified one of the leading doctors in prostate cancer. Keep in mind that this process only helps identify possible candidates because some doctors do not practice. In William Catalona’s case, he does:

“[He] is one of the first surgeons to perform and perfect nerve sparing surgery in radical prostatectomy operations. Dr. Catalona has performed more than 6,000 radical prostatectomies.” —

I hope this initial approach helps you and your loved ones find the best doctor whom suits your needs.

Note: I did not come up with this process, I’m simply trying to share it in a condensed form online. Eric Topol deserves the credit. I highly encourage you to read his book, “The Creative Destruction of Medicine.”

Additional note: I have no affiliation with William Catalona.

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