Saturday, October 29, 2016

Health awards for sale

The biggest issue with healthcare today is the trust deficit. Patients want to go to doctors whom they can trust. but the problem is that doctors and hospitals have lost all their credibility . All of medical care seems to be up for sale , and kick-backs and commissions are rampant. This has become an open secret, which is why patients try to look for reliable ways of finding a good hospital.

This is why health awards have become so popular in recent times. It's quite natural for lay people to use health awards as a standard of reliability. After all,  if a newspaper or magazine or TV channel gives an award to a particular hospital or doctor, then the patient is going to conclude that this hospital must be better than all the other hospitals. After all, didn't they win an award from a leading organization?

The hospital is very happy to tom-tom the fact that it has won all these awards , which is why the awards also start getting a lot of publicity !  The winning hospitals use these as a marketing tool to increase the confidence levels which patients have in the quality of care which they provide.

However, the tragedy is that these awards are also on sale. Most awardees are selected based on how much money they are willing to pay for the award !

The award sponsor will describe the "rigorous process " they follow in order to select the awardees , but the reality is that these awards are offered to the highest bidder. This is why we are seeing such a rash of awards and prizes for hospitals and doctors - it's a clever way of making easy money !

It's a great publicity stunt because it makes everyone feel good. The award company is seen to be promoting good health care because it claims to highlight the good work which doctors are doing. Hospitals and pharma companies are happy to pay for these awards, because it improves their public image.

The number of award ceremonies is increasing dramatically, because everyone wants a slice of the pie.  Also, each award company creates lots of  specialty specific awards, because it wants to give away lots of awards to lots of players - the more the merrier ! After all, the more the awards you present, the more the money the award sponsor earns.

The only loser in this entire game is the poor patient who gets mislead by these awards , because he doesn't understand their lack of credibility . However, patients are getting smarter, because the glut of awards has cheapened their value.

Once patients realize that these awards are also up for sale, why would they trust a hospital simply because they've got an award? In fact it's usually the honest, straight forward hospitals who aren't willing to play this marketing game and who refuse to buy the awards who are perhaps the most trustworthy .  They don't want to pay for this kind of cheap publicity, just in order to get their 10 minutes of fame at a conference or on a TV channel. Sadly, things just seem to be going from bad to worse in the healthcare industry , where everything seems to be up for grabs !

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