Whether it’s cancer, operations or life-threatening emergencies – often enough, your own quality of life depends on the work of a doctor. But how are patients supposed to know who the best expert for their condition is? The FOCUS Doctors’ List 2024 answers this question.

Women with breast cancer have an almost 25 percent higher survival advantage if they go to a certified breast cancer center for initial treatment. And in the case of artificial hip and knee joints, hundreds of premature replacement operations could be avoided if the prostheses were implanted exclusively in specialized clinics. Anyone who does not want to rely solely on the hospital reform of Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and would rather take their health into their own hands can find important information in the new FOCUS doctors’ list for 2024. The FOCUS doctor and clinic lists have been supporting readers in their search for good medical care for more than 30 years.

The 2024 doctors’ list with the most recently researched recommendations will be published on May 21. With over 4,100 experts for 126 diseases and specialist areas, it helps patients find the right specialists for their respective situation and thus perhaps take a decisive step on the way to their recovery and healing. The team spent a whole year collecting data, collecting, analyzing and evaluating all relevant quality indicators. The research is carried out independently, comprehensively, using the latest IT and scientific methods.

The 2024 doctors’ list is extensively researched and compiled in a neutral manner. It is not possible for doctors to “buy” their way onto the recommendation list. The doctors’ list offers reliable information and reliable guidance, thus helping to ensure that patients receive better care. In addition, the recommendation list can relieve the burden on the healthcare system by reducing unnecessary visits to the practice – and doctors also benefit from this.

Over the past three decades of its existence, the FOCUS doctors’ list has achieved a high status in the healthcare media landscape. And rightly so, because the doctors’ list represents an objective source of information with high utility for patients. Doctors are included in the list exclusively on the basis of scientifically collected data, public data sources, surveys and recommendations. The researchers collect detailed information about what doctors do. For example, the doctors provide information about their medical qualifications and the treatments they offer.

Their involvement in science, teaching and research is also questioned. FOCUS-Gesundheit is assisted by the research institute FactField for the survey, which is constantly developing the methodology with a highly qualified team of research analysts, data scientists and IT specialists in collaboration with specialists in the respective department.

In order to research the doctors for the 126 list topics, specialists in these fields are sought throughout Germany, including in publicly available data sources. All doctors who, based on many years of experience, could be considered for recommendation as a FOCUS top doctor are then included in the narrower research pool.

Possible criteria include whether the doctor has the right to provide further training, a postdoctoral qualification, a managerial position in a clinic or a leading role in a professional association. The researchers collect and record extensive data on around 80,000 medical professionals in order to prepare the next stage of the survey: In the second step, around 38,000 doctors will then receive a questionnaire that will be used to collect even more detailed information about their respective achievements.

One criterion is also reputation: every doctor is asked which colleague he or she would allow to treat themselves or their relatives. In science, mutual assessment between colleagues is considered a reliable and common criterion. Together with other data from publicly accessible sources, this brings together a total of over 1.2 million data points, making it a very comprehensive and reliable, expert-supported survey of medical quality.

At the end of this process, more than 4,000 doctors from 126 specialist areas are selected as top physicians on the FOCUS doctors list each year. The FOCUS Health editorial team then prepares the list in a journalistic format that is easy to understand for readers.

“Medical quality is made up of various factors. It is often difficult for patients to grasp the overall picture. In order to offer them orientation, we launched the FOCUS doctor lists over 30 years ago and have continuously developed the scientific methodology for creating the recommendations since then,” explains Andrea Hennis, editor-in-chief of FOCUS-Gesundheit.

“Our top priority is to prepare the lists in a way that is easy to understand and clear. So that our readers can easily find the practitioner who is a very good choice for their exact situation,” Hennis continues. The role of patients has changed steadily in recent years: Many want to actively participate in their treatment and find out about treatment options and practitioners. Shared decision making (SDM) also helps to improve compliance with therapy. And this is exactly where the FOCUS doctor list comes in, because only those who are as well informed as possible can make an independent decision. The neutrally researched and journalistically prepared medical expert network that the FOCUS doctor list offers for this purpose is accessible to everyone – digitally or as a booklet. And the medical profession itself has also valued this for many years.

“Patients and doctors benefit equally from the FOCUS doctor list because it brings patients together with doctors quickly and easily, making it easier for everyone to find their way through the jungle of the healthcare system.”