Marketing, Motherhood, and Mayhem

Public prefers “Hospitals” ove “Medical Centers”

July 27th, 2011 by Deb McLean

Marketers are always looking for a new “spin” on an old idea.  A way to “re-label” an old idea to get an advantage in the consumer’s mind.  According to one instance, it appears some marketers haven’t checked with those that matter…the Public.

They may offer the same services, but a “hospital” offers better care than a “medical center,” at least in the public’s opinion.

That’s the finding of a survey conducted by Rivkin & Associates and Bauman Research & Consulting on patient perceptions of hospitals versus medical centers.

Steve Rivkin, founder of Rivkin and Associates in Glen Rock, N.J., said the perception that the word “hospital” is old-fashioned and tired began several years ago. For that reason, and the fact that many hospitals bought physician practices and added new services, many facilities dropped the word “hospital” from their names. In an attempt to become the focus of health care in their communities, they changed their names to medical centers.

Rivkin said the problem is that the decision to change the name is often based on inside judgments and reasoning that consumers disagree with. The public, across all demographics, favors a hospital over a medical center. They think hospitals have more to offer and provide a higher level of service, according to the survey.

“Tens of thousands of blue H signs across the country point the way to hospitals,” Rivkin said. “This survey indicates that consumers also point to hospitals over medical centers in terms of offering a wide range of services, delivering high-quality care, being on the cutting edge and having expert physicians.”

Rivkin said many physicians think “medical center” conveys prestige, as many academic facilities use it in their names.

“Regardless of those internal considerations, it’s always worth listening to the voice of the consumer,” he said.

(Source: American Medical News, 07/11/11)

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