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  • Writer's pictureKelley Kline

4 Strategies for Increasing Hospital Brand Reputation

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

What are US News and World Report Rankings and why do they matter?

The US News rankings are a set of scores released annually that rank medical institutions based on various metrics. For hospitals, the rankings evaluate 15 specialty areas of care and include responses from expert opinion surveys and specialty physicians on top referral hospitals based on who they deem the best options for complex cases.

Below are the top 6 highest rated hospitals in the US for 2022-2023

While these rankings signify a measure of excellence, they also serve as a marketing tactic for hospitals to engage consumers. When patients see the gold badge on the hospital’s homepage, this marks a measure of quality and gives patients a sense of security when receiving care from affiliated hospitals.

Further, we know hospitals value these rankings as those who rank celebrate their awards through marketing efforts on billboards, websites, and social media - aware of the impact it has on their brand reputation. While the rankings are not the sole measurement of quality care, nor the only hospital ranking system, they are a starting point for patients and industry experts when evaluating treatment centers or referral options.

But how to increase rankings? While some metrics are less manipulatable, like patient outcomes, others, like expert opinion scores from voting physicians, may be more easily swayed. Using a two-pronged approach, we examined nearly 300 metrics linked to higher hospital rankings and specifically expert scores to determine key factors that may positively influence ranks*.

How did we identify factors linked to higher US News rankings and expert scores?

As a first step to unveiling some seemingly obvious and other less obvious metrics linked to higher hospital rankings and expert scores, we ran a Pearson's correlation analysis to learn if variables had a positive or negative relationship with rankings and expert scores, and the strength of the relationship, leading to the discovery of common themes across higher ranked hospitals that inspired aspirational goals for lower ranked hospitals.

Through this approach, we narrowed down a list of indicators that armed healthcare professionals with targeted areas to focus on what may really matter when working towards improving their hospital’s rankings.

Four Key Learnings for Hospitals Seeking to Bolster US News Rankings

  1. Encourage Online Networking Among Providers: Create a social strategy to increase online presence by encouraging faculty to engage with internal staff and network with external providers to enhance collaboration and expand online networks.

  2. Engage Audiences with Frequent and Relevant Content: Develop a content strategy that facilitates content sharing across corporate channels and on a regular cadence to increase online relevance and promote brand awareness.

  3. Promote Internal Offerings with Connections to Clinical Advancements: Prioritize messaging around what makes your hospital stand out from others by promoting internal offerings. When possible, make connections between your offerings and scientific advancements to enhance positioning as an industry leader within the speciality of interest.

  4. Personalize Online Messaging: Personalize messaging across web and social content by using photos of healthcare professionals, integrating patient-focused messaging, and publishing online content from faculty members themselves.

The Takeaway

While engaging stakeholders by incorporating the strategies listed above may impact physician expert scores in an effort to increase US News rankings, it can also have a broader positive impact for hospital reputation at large. By integrating these best practices, hospitals have an opportunity to not only influence stakeholders but also to impact other key factors linked to higher-ranked hospitals indirectly. For example, hospitals with better reputations likely attract higher patient volumes, a metric included in US News ranking methods. Incorporating these best practices can continue to improve your hospital’s brand reputation over time, even extending beyond US News rankings, and should continue to be leveraged as current rankings shift to more objective data such as clinical outcomes.

*Note: All findings are based on correlations and intended for directional application only; causation cannot be inferred from these findings


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