IBM Watson Health, in partnership with Fortune, recently released its top 100 hospital rankings—an exciting time for many hospitals around the country. This year, for the first time, IBM Watson Health included a new component into its ranking calculation: A dimension geared at measuring how well hospitals contribute to improving community well-being.
Historically, IBM Watson Health has ranked hospitals based on four core dimensions: clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience, and financial health. And while these four dimensions remain extremely strong predictors of a high-performing hospital, this past year has highlighted an overlooked area of the healthcare experience that plays a sizeable role in the “success” of a hospital.
This past year has been a test of strength for hospitals for a multitude of reasons. The pandemic exposed cracks in our national healthcare system that have existed for decades and became so pressurized many communities across the country were waiting for the system to buckle. Perhaps one of the biggest cracks unearthed was the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on minority communities. This, combined with the long overdue, intensified focus on racial inequality and human rights, has significantly heightened the need for healthcare institutions to make a firm commitment to their role within the communities they serve.
And, it’s high time that hospital rankings consider how hospitals have responded to this call to action.
Hospitals covet a position in the top 100 (and by the way, if you’re wondering whether hospital awards influence consumer perceptions, ask us about our hospital awards research). Hospitals have numerous ways of tracking the “traditional” inputs (clinical outcomes, operational efficiency, patient experience, and financial health), but how do you measure how the community perceives your goodwill or your contribution to the community’s well-being outside of the hospital walls?
Escalent has spent a great deal of time thinking about how brands have handled the turbulent waters of this past year and whether those actions have been perceived authentically or viewed as “just going through the motions” to avoid becoming the next negative headline. But how does one know if your actions are being perceived as they were authentically intended and, if they’re not, how do you know what dimension of the experience is driving misperceptions?
Escalent conducted a self-funded, online study among 1,000 consumers nationally. The study assessed 32 brands across 12 different attributes related to brand authenticity. The team conducted a series of analyses to derive five core constructs:
By measuring these five constructs and bringing them together in the right way, we can accurately and reliably measure a brand’s perceived authenticity.
Interestingly, hospitals are generally viewed as an authentic category, performing higher than or on par with some of the most authentic brands we’ve measured. Escalent’s authenticity research showed a significant relationship between our Brand Authenticity Index and how sincere consumers perceived a brand’s response to COVID-19 to be. What hospitals say and do matters.
With five simple questions that can seamlessly be folded into nearly any survey, we can provide insight into how authentic consumers perceive not only your hospital, but your key competitors as well. Our metric provides a high-level benchmark that can be shared with executives and tracked over time, as well as individual diagnostics to help you hone in and deconstruct authenticity to identify areas of strength specific to your hospital so you can leverage new opportunities for improvement.
Knowing where you stand in the community will give you insight into how your actions are being perceived and provide you with guidance on how you can up your game.
While you might improve your IBM Watson 100 Top Hospitals ranking, the real win is inspiring trust within your community. To quote my colleague Jill Miller, one of the developers of Escalent’s Brand Authenticity Index, “Authenticity inspires trust, allowing us to feel connected, invested and committed. It builds loyalty and brand love—which results in longtime customers, deeper relationships, and ultimately, increased revenue.”
Escalent has deep expertise in hospitals, health systems and providers, and we have been advising clients for more than four decades. If you’d like to discuss how to measure your hospital’s authenticity among patients and the community, send us a note. We can gather insights into the mindset of your patients and help you develop a plan.