Don't choose your health care provider based on a billboard

November 28, 2018 - 3:00 am

KYW’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. 

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — You have probably seen the billboards displaying the ratings of different hospitals. 

We can see them in just about every town: Hospitals buy advertising that illustrates they are a top hospital in the eyes of some magazine or survey. 

Let me stress that not all of these ranking lists are biased, but in many cases these facilities pay a great deal of money to participate in the surveys. 

In worst case scenarios, certain magazines make choices of so-called "top hospitals" based on how much advertising they buy. We see the same phenomenon with colleges and other organizations. 

The reason that I bring this up is that choosing a health care organization or particular physician should be different than selecting a  politician. Advertising based on surveys are imperfect at best and harmful at worst.

The public deserves better than this. After all, the doctor or hospital choice has a direct impact on individual's health.