Factors that Influence Choice of Hospital

Part
01
of three
Part
01

Hospital Choice - Drivers and Factors

Factors that influence hospital choice when looking for a healthcare facility for critical kinds of care/procedures include the location of the hospital, modern management practices and publicly reported performance measures, quality of emergency care, doctor's recommendation, and the hospital's specialty.

Hospital Choice Drivers

Location

Modern Management practices and Publicly Reported Performance Measures

  • A study published in the journal of Health Economics found that "heart attack patients are more likely to choose hospitals with high scores on publicly reported performance measures."
  • The study's result "revealed that a one standard deviation change in management practice scores is associated with an 8% increase in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) admissions."

Quality of Emergency Care

  • McConnell and his team of researchers looked at 126,566 admissions to cardiac care units in the US and observed that 50% of them were brought in by ambulance and were unlikely to have had the chance to make a decision on a healthcare facility.
  • The majority of such patients often continue their care in hospitals that treated them during the emergency. This suggests that patients often continue their critical care in hospitals that handled them during an emergency if the level of care they received was satisfactory.

Doctor Recomendation

  • Doctor recommendation is another key driver that influences hospital choice when looking for a healthcare facility for critical care.
  • Studies by the FTC and a study published in the International Journal of Health Care identify doctor recommendation as a key factor influencing patients' choice of a hospital.

Specialty Clinic

  • Patients rank clinics that are a specialty/sub-specialty clinic and that has the majority of clinical and para-clinical services higher in their choice of hospital.
  • Surveyed patients ranked "being a specialty and sub-specialty clinic and having the majority of clinical and para-clinical services" as the second most important factor influencing their choice with a mean of 2.43.
  • A study published in the International Journal of Health Care identifies similar factors such as type of hospital and type of service being offered as key factors influencing patients' choice of a hospital.



Part
02
of three
Part
02

Hospital Choice - Features

The hospital features that matter to a person when choosing a hospital include the hospital environment, the hospital's specialty, availability of good and modern facilities, experienced and responsive staff, and suitable visit and service cost.

Hospital Factors that Matter to a Person

Appropriate Clinic Environment

  • A study found that the biggest factor patients rate as important when choosing a healthcare facility in the US is the environment.
  • Patients rated "appropriate clinic environment" with a mean of 2.47, the highest among all other possible drivers.
  • "Appropriate clinic environment" include physical appearance, hospital design, and hospital facilities.

Specialty or Sub-Specialty Clinic

  • Patients rank clinics that are a specialty/sub-specialty clinic and that has the majority of clinical and para-clinical services higher in their choice of hospital.
  • Surveyed patients ranked "being a specialty and sub-specialty clinic and having the majority of clinical and para-clinical services" as the second most important factor influencing their choice with a mean of 2.43.
  • Patients prefer clinics that have all medical disciplines (specialty and sub-specialty) and offer all medical services in the clinic.

Good and Modern Facilities

  • Patients rank good and modern facilities as the third most important feature that matters when choosing a hospital.
  • Good and modern facilities is ranked third with a mean of 2.35 among all the other factors in the above study.

Experienced and Responsive Personnel

  • Another key hospital feature that is a driver when it comes to patients' choice of a hospital is having experienced and responsive personnel. This includes both doctors and other hospital staff.
  • Patients in the study referenced above ranked "having experienced and responsive personnel including physicians and employees" as the fourth most important factor in their choice of hospital with a mean of 2.29.

Suitable Visit and Service Cost

  • Hospitals with more suitable visits and lower service costs are also preferred by people.
  • "More suitable visits and services costs" was ranked the fourth most important factor in their choice of hospital with a mean of 2.29, the same with "having experienced and responsive personnel including physicians and employees."

Part
03
of three
Part
03

Hospital Choice - Decision Input

Consumers look to clinicians, peers (family, friends, etc), insurers, and online reviews for input to help them decide what hospital to use.

Clinicians

Peer Referral

  • Peer referral is another place consumers look to for help to make a decision about what hospital to use.
  • The factor was identified by both the FTC and researchers studying patients' choice of hospitals,
  • According to the FTC, “consumers when they are seeking a new physician who fits their idiosyncratic needs generally rely on the recommendations of trusted relatives, friends, and associates.”

Insurer

  • A study published in the International Journal of Health Care identified a patient's insurance as a key factor influencing a patient's choice of hospital.
  • This was also identified as a key driver in a different research. The reason a patient's insurer is a key factor is that patients tend to prefer hospitals that are covered by their insurer.

Online Reviews

  • Patients turn to online reviews when looking for physicians and hospitals to use. A study of over 1,000 people found that "individuals perceive nonclinical ratings provided by commercial websites as important as clinical ratings provided by government websites when choosing a primary care physician."
  • A study found that "84% of patients use online reviews to evaluate physicians and 77% of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor."
  • In addition, "80% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations."
Sources
Sources