THE SURVEY RESULTS ARE IN: Nearly 1,200 physicians, nurses, and physician’s assistants in King, Kitsap, and Snohomish counties nominated colleagues they would choose to treat themselves and their loved ones. The 347 doctors who received the most votes have been listed here alphabetically and constitute 80 distinct specialties.

For ease of navigation, these specialties have been grouped into seven categories: General Medicine, Internal Medicine, Oncology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry, Surgery, and Alternative Medicine. As of press time, all the doctors on our list had current credentials filed with the state’s medical licensing board (Washington State Department of Health, 360-236-4700, option 3; doh.wa.gov, click “Provider Credential Search”). All practitioners are MDs except where noted (e.g., DO for Doctor of Osteopathy, OD for Doctor of Optometry, LAc for Licensed Acupuncturist, etc.).

Private practices, due to small staffs and the fact they encounter fewer colleagues on a day-to-day basis, are never adequately represented on lists like these; docs at big hospitals tend to get more votes. Though we’ve given close attention to creating a comprehensive and detailed list, this reference is best used as a first step in the careful journey toward finding doctors who are right for you.

And when you find them, help them help you. Because medical care increasingly requires patients to be proactive, we asked our leading doctors in a variety of fields how patients can best contribute to their own quality of care. Their prescriptions for how you can be a model patient just might lead to the beginning of a beautiful partnership—and better health care, too.