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It's Judgment Day for Hospital Websites

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, August 22, 2013

Advertising techniques, she wrote, "usually include a da Vinci Robot and orthopedic surgery that will 'get you back in the game.' They claim to be 'state-of-the-art,' 'leading edge,' or 'cutting edge,' with actors playing doctors and nurses in masks."

"There is minimal oversight of hospital marketing compared with the active role the U.S. Food and Drug Administration plays guiding the direction of advertising for food and drugs," she wrote. "I wonder what the FDA would say about some of our hospital marketing: Does it educate the consumer?"

With the attention they hope their award will draw, that's what URAC and Leapfrog are asking as well. Last year, when the organizations launched the idea, many hospitals just couldn't get through the application process, Webster recalls.

"They wanted to participate, but they realized there was just a lot of work they needed to do to provide a better site, rather than just providing directions to the hospital or listing their doctors." Only 26 hospitals applied, and only seven made the cut. They couldn't say "yes" to at least 50% of the measures for each of five domains, Mobley says.

"Even if they got 80% for four, but only 20% in the fifth, that disqualified them," Mobley explains. The award algorithm is based on the National Quality Forum and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's guidelines for "consumer-focused Internet-based public reporting of health performance data."

The seven winners are:

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

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3 comments on "It's Judgment Day for Hospital Websites"


Daniel Fell (10/9/2013 at 10:51 AM)
The Leapfrog Group has done some great work on patient safety and reducing medical errors in my opinion but this rating program could be greatly improved. Hardly any of the criteria really relate to the quality of hospital quality data itself. It's more of a general web site rating (of which there are several out there including the e-Healthcare Leadership Awards that I help judge every year). Where are the specifics regarding sources of data, use of internal quality data, consumer friendly explanations of quality metrics, physician level data, use of infographics, etc.? Less than 20% of the criteria even deal with the quality data. That said, we've been tracking healthcare ratings and rankings trends for the last decade and it's surprising ow slow hospitals have been to push this content out to referral sources and patients. So kudos to Leapfrog for drawing more attention to the issue.

Laurie (8/27/2013 at 4:28 PM)
It's no surprise that they are under review. Technology helps patients better educate themselves so they can make better healthcare choices. I see a lot of providers who are embracing technology in their practice with cloud PACS are also putting the effort into updating their website and other online identities where they could be held liable.

Danny Long (8/22/2013 at 3:14 PM)
Oh my Cheryl Clark, I so love your get to the point articles! One, if not my favorite writers! Danny and Shelly :-) :-)