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What Does 'Top' Mean?

The Huffington Post—September 8, 2010

By Helene Pavlov, M.D., FACR, Radiologist-in-Chief at Hospital for Special Surgery

Many years ago I needed to hire a company to remove some overgrown trees on my property. I called a firm recommended by our neighbor. The head (president) of the company came and announced, "We are not the top tree company but we can get this job done for you."
That statement was a cause for pause. Did we need the "top" company for this job? How do you determine which one is the "top?" How is top defined? Do I need the "top" company for pruning some trees? Do I need the "top" company to diagnose the problem with the trees? Do I need the "top" company not to do more than is needed or not to cause harm or damage to the other trees on my property? Is he telling me that he is not the "top" in cost? Why was he saying this? Should I ask him which company is the "top?" Do I care?                                                    

This is not to repudiate all rankings and award plaques. As the article indicated, the Consumer Research Council may be mistaken for Consumer Reports which has a reputation for providing reputable consumer protection and information about various products and services. The Castle Connolly Top Doctors is based on surveys and U.S. News & World Report, for instance, does an exhaustive and detailed review when ranking hospitals and specialties. The intense scrutiny backing up these rankings gives consumers a vetted idea of what to expect or where to optimally go for a specific condition.

Any evaluation or critical review, however, still needs to be considered and evaluated by the consumer and their own experiences. This is not to say that your health care provider with many plaques hanging on their office walls declaring that he/she is among the "top" in their field or in their geographical area, is not the "top," but that caution is always wise.

Read the full story at huffingtonpost.com.



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