Brigham and Women’s tops consumer hospital ranking poll by NRC Health

Dive Brief:

  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston topped a consumer survey from data firm NRC Health for the second year, with almost two-thirds of hospitals on the list last year making a reappearance.
  • Three other facilities again in the top 10 include University Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa; and St. Vincent’s Birmingham and UAB Hospital, both in Birmingham, Alabama.
  • Mayo Clinic, the academic health system that consistently leads U.S. News & World Report’s rankings, had a series of facilities peppering the list, but none broke the top 30. Results are based on a survey conducted April 2019 through March 2020 of more than 310,000 consumers.

Dive Insight:

Patient loyalty is a driver of hospital intake, with research showing patients are five times more likely to choose a practice if they had a positive experience compared with traditional brand promotion. Provider executives strive to retain existing patients to guarantee volume, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic drives uncertainty in the industry and opens the door to new delivery methods outside the hospital, like telehealth.

To make the rankings, hospitals had to receive at least 150 top-of-mind mentions from consumers and have high scores on seven measures of loyalty: access, brand score, engagement, need, motivation, experience and Net Promoter Score, a common metric of consumer satisfaction.

The 100 organizations on the list beat out more than 500 other facilities for their spot, NRC Health said. Illinois had the most facilities in the top 100, with 10 hospitals, followed by California with nine and Florida with seven.

Hospitals compete fiercely for top spots in rankings conducted by CMS and private companies like U.S. News & World Report and Leapfrog. In the U.S. healthcare system, where the price and quality of healthcare services between different locations is difficult to ascertain, hospitals advertise such rankings as proof of their efficacy, hoping to draw consumers to their facility over another.

The rankings are controversial, with critics from academics and industry alike.

A 2019 report published in the New England Journal of Medicine found many such rating systems misclassify hospital performance, which could confuse potential patients. Additionally, rankings from different groups can differ drastically from one another based on methodology, and they often don’t include metrics like commitment to diversity and inclusivity. New ratings from think tank the Lown Institute published in July found many top-tier institutions did poorly on combating health inequities in their communities.

The top 10 facilities on NRC’s list are:

  1. Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston
  2. Baptist Health Lexington in Lexington, Kentucky
  3. University Iowa Hospitals & Clinics in Iowa City, Iowa
  4. Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina
  5. St. Vincent’s Birmingham in Birmingham, Alabama
  6. University Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan
  7. Boone Hospital Center in Columbia, Missouri
  8. Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut
  9. UAB Hospital in Birmingham
  10. Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania

Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester, Minnesota, was No. 31; Mayo Clinic Hospital in Jacksonville, Florida, was No. 34; Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, was No. 68; and Mayo Clinic Hospital in Phoenix was No. 91.

In other big names, Cleveland Clinic’s main campus was No. 11 and Geisinger Medical Center was No. 75.

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