Survey Finds Consumers Prefer "Hospital" Over "Medical Center"

A recent survey by Rivkin & Associates and Bauman Research & Consulting, both based in Glen Rock, N.J., suggests that consumers prefer a "hospital" over a "medical center."

The survey of more than 1,000 Americans found that consumers believe hospitals have a wider range of services, better quality medical care and are more up-to-date than medical centers. Consumer also believed hospitals (46 percent) were more likely to have physicians who are experts in their fields than medical centers (34 percent).

The conventional wisdom for years has been that the word 'hospital' was tired and old-fashioned," said Steve Rivkin, founder of Rivkin & Associates, a marketing and communications consultancy. "As a result, hundreds of hospitals have dropped the word and renamed themselves medical centers."

"Our data indicates this conventional wisdom is wrong," said Sandra Bauman, PhD, founder of Bauman Research & Consulting. "This national study shows that consumers favor a 'hospital' across the board on the four attributes we measured."

Survey results were consistent across respondents’ gender, age, income, race, region, household income, size of household and educational levels, according to Dr. Bauman.

"We've encountered many internal reasons for using the term 'medical center,'" said Mr. Rivkin. "As hospitals expanded, added facilities and services and partnered with physicians, they came to see themselves as 'centers' of healthcare for their communities. And for some, the term 'medical center' also has an academic pedigree, conveying prestige to physicians and other practitioners."

Read the survey findings on consumer preference for "hospital" over "medical center".

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