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Abundance of Healthcare Quality Awards Weakens Marketing Value

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2013

And hold on for a shocker: The increase in awards is partially due to the fact that many of the awarding organizations are making a profit on the distinctions.


See Also: Leapfrog's 'License Fees' for Promoting Hospital Scores Rankle


Healthgrades, U.S. News & World Report, and Leapfrog (a non-profit organization) encourage hospitals to promote the quality awards they have bestowed upon them and then charge licensing fees to hospitals that want to advertise their ranking.

According to an official at NYU Langone Medical Center, Healthgrades would have charged it $145,000 to use its logo on their website. U.S. News asked for upwards of $50,000 and Leapfrog $5,000 for hospitals with fewer than 300 beds and $12,500 for larger facilities. Leapfrog says it only charges to ensure that hospitals aren't misusing or misreporting their scores.

Consumer Reports bars hospitals from using its ratings in marketing, but patients must subscribe to read them online. The Joint Commission does not charge hospitals that make its top quality list.

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1 comments on "Abundance of Quality Awards Weakens Marketing Value"


Mike Spanjar (5/8/2013 at 6:30 PM)
I don't see this as the travesty you've portrayed. Health care marketing is an exceptionally competitive space. Our many health care clients have varying success earning awards. The hospital that receives multiple top ratings from the most distinguished award organizations is proud of its accomplishments and wants to beat its chest so customers feel good about their affiliation with that hospital (and so the neighboring hospital system's customers take notice). The center that receives middling accolades is anxious to see how it can leverage them. The fees these organizations charge to use their logos or reproduce results don't negate the validity of the awards. Many have extraordinarily rigid criteria. Further, I believe consumers deserve to know where the quality hospitals are, regardless of which one has the most memorable advertising. Yes, we develop emotional campaigns. They, too, are important as part of the mix. But just try to tell a stellar hospital to keep their awards to themselves. Not gonna happen.