Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hospital Advertising

Have you ever noticed that while driving on any major road in America you see billboards touting that the local hospital is in the top 100 as certified by this or that “prestigious” firm or accounting group? Hospitals are paying multiple millions of dollars to these “prestigious” companies enabling them to make these claims. The hospitals work hard to meet the firm’s criteria, enabling the company to say that the hospital is outstanding in this or that quality so as to increase the hospital’s prestige relative to its competitors and attract more patients. This is another costly advertising practice increasing our nation’s health care costs. In reality, there is no such thing as “the best” hospital. Every patient is unique and the special skills needed for that particular person may or may not be available in the hospital that has been declared “the best”. Maximizing benefit for the patient is served by having a trusted, knowledgeable, objective physician who knows her/his needs who then recommends the best place to meet that need. One way to decrease medical costs, therefore, is by having the public not place any credence to this form of advertising leading to its eventual demise.

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