What is it?

Ribbon’s specialties identify the clinical specializations of a given provider.

Why is it useful?

Specialties are one of the most used and displayed fields in Ribbon’s directory because of how central it is to most “find care” stories. Most searches for a clinician start with a basic parameter of what type of clinician is needed, and the specialty (be it “Orthopedics” or “Cardiology” or “Physical Therapy”) is how we categorize and label clinicians. Mirroring the reality of clinical practice, a single clinician can have several specialties in our data. For some clinicians, Ribbon defines a “primary specialty” among the set assigned.

Our customers typically interact with this feature by creating some sort of “select” functionality (e.g. a drop-down, or a fuzzy search) that interacts with the /specialties reference index and then passes the selected options to a search in the /providers endpoint.


Ribbon’s specialty options largely use the NUCC specialty taxonomy as a base, and our specialty attributes include the associated taxonomy code where available. In some instances, we’ve added or removed specialties from that set as we have learned about how customers think about search. Ribbon assigns specialties (and selects a clinician’s “primary specialty”) for specific clinicians through a tiered process that synthesizes several sources including NPPES, as well as public and private sources.


  • Can I search for groups of specialties?
    -> Yes! Our Specialty Guide has more information on how to search for commonly associated specialties (i.e: all Dermatology specialties)