Mitchell L. Shiffman, MD, who heads the Liver Institute of Virginia, has been named by peer review as one of the Best Doctors in America®, placing him in the top five percent of specialists in the United States. Dr. Shiffman says, “It is nice to be recognized by my peers. It gives the Liver Institute of Virginia credibility nationally for providing outstanding care for liver disease.”
According to Dr. Shiffman, the treatment of liver disease is in great transition and tremendous strides have been made in the last twenty years. These advances have been made possible by pharmaceutical research and the willingness of physicians and patients be participate in clinical trials. He says, “In the nineties, there’re was very little treatment. Now we can treat, control or cure liver disease and safety perform liver transplants.” He emphasizes, “At the Liver Institute, we are always on the cutting edge and this is one of the reasons we are recognized as leaders in our field. Our relationships with pharmaceutical companies allow us to safely treat our patients with the newest drugs years before the drugs are widely available.”
Providing good patient care is another hallmark of a leader among peers. Dr. Shiffman points out that he and his staff at the Liver Institute of Virginia ensure the patients understand what their problems are, what the long-term ramifications are and what their treatment options are. He says, “We are team members with our patients. Many come in here afraid of what will happen to them. They leave much more upbeat because we help them understand that treatments are available and that they have our support.”
He provides three other points that characterize a leading specialist:
- You are the go-to person. Other doctors send their patients to you.
- You offer new and better treatments to the patient.
- Your patients like coming to you because you help them understand.
Though it is not commonly known, high cholesterol, diabetes and high blood pressure can lead to liver damage, according to Dr. Shiffman. The vast majority of liver disease has no early symptoms, so it’s important for people to understand the indications which are fatigue, association with a high-risk group and abnormal blood tests.
Dr. Shiffman is recognized as one of world’s leaders in the field of hepatology. His particular area of interest is viral hepatitis. He has been involved and directed numerous clinical trials to develop new and better treatments for viral hepatitis B and C. Dr. Shiffman is a regular speaker on the treatment of viral hepatitis, the management of various liver disorders and the treatment of liver cancer at regional, national and international society meetings. He has published more than 200 articles in medical journals related to the treatment of liver diseases and has edited two books on this topic. He is also a consultant to many pharmaceutical companies. In this role, he advises pharmaceutical companies how to better develop medications for the treatment of viral hepatitis and many other liver disorders.
Dr. Shiffman was selected for this prestigious honor by his peers through an exhaustive, biennial peer review survey of the medical profession. In the survey, Best Doctors contacts more than 5,000 doctors identified in previous research as the “best” in their specialties and asks, “If you or a loved one needed a doctor in your specialty, to whom would you refer them?” The survey uses a combination of high-technology methods and person-to-person telephone interviews to encourage more complete and candid responses.