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Consumers' Association of Hospital Reputation With Healthcare Quality

Ziemba, Justin B.; Arenberg, Steven; Reustle, Holly; Allaf, Mohamad E.; Haldeman, Dalal

The Journal for Healthcare Quality (JHQ): July/August 2019 - Volume 41 - Issue 4 - p 251–258
doi: 10.1097/JHQ.0000000000000167
Original Article

ABSTRACT Why consumers consistently rank hospital reputation as one of the most important factors when selecting health care services remains unknown. We hypothesized that this is explained by consumers associating reputation with objective quality. We performed a cross-sectional, US population-based survey of consumers (N = 23,410) exploring this association. A Spearman rank order correlation was used to measure the strength of this relationship. Subgroups of consumers more likely to associate the two was explored with multivariable logistic regression. Consumers commonly agree (56%) that a hospital's reputation is the same as its quality of health care. Consumers also associate hospital reputation with the belief that they will be less like to suffer a complication (ρ = 0.509) or die (ρ = 0.441), although the strength of these relationships were modest (all p < 0.01). Consumers who were male (OR: 0.84), Hispanic (OR: 0.82), African American (OR: 0.86), married (OR: 0.85), self-reported as healthy (OR: 0.67), and had a recent hospitalization (OR: 0.70) were less likely to believe that reputation and quality were equivalent (all p < 0.01). This data suggests that consumers link the construct of hospital reputation with objective health care quality, but this pattern of behavior is of concern, particularly when reputation does not align with objective data.

For more information on this article, contact Justin B. Ziemba at

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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© 2019 National Association for Healthcare Quality
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