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Generate hospital award recognition with these submission tips

BY: Elise Oberliesen on December 19, 2018

Editor’s note: This is the second part of a series about award recognition. Read the first article here.

Most people like a little praise, and healthcare organizations are no different.

And when your organization receives accolades for all its hard work — from award recognition to rankings reports — it can help you attract top talent, according to recruiting professionals.

When organizations land prestigious awards, like Forbes Best Employers, or Becker’s 100 Great Hospitals in America, it doesn’t happen by accident.award recognition

“What we find impressive is when hospitals and health systems have data-driven information, like improvements over time, outcomes, how they’ve expanded and invested in patient care,” said Laura Dyrda, editor-in-chief with Becker’s Healthcare, publisher of the Becker’s Hospital Review.

When these healthcare systems and hospitals can show tangible evidence about improvements in their communities, for example, that’s the stuff that helps them get noticed, she said.

Although recognition awards boost the hospital’s reputation, employees also like the idea of working for organizations on these lists because it gives them a sense of pride about the organization they work for, she said.

“People can see their local institution is something to be proud of,” Dyrda said. “To see their work recognized on a national level can definitely have a positive impact.”

When awards are announced via email or during staff meetings, it can create a sense of excitement for employees because some awards carry a fair amount of prestige and winning them does not come easy, she added.

When it comes to “Best Place to Work Awards,” recruiting professionals said it has been shown to increase the number of candidates who submit online job applications, while decreasing turnover and helping improve employee engagement.

According to the Society of HR Professionals, awards also can help you retain employees, especially when you are recognized for having an employee-friendly work environment.

The 2018 Forbes Best Employers List ranked Penn Medicine at No. 6 and Mayo Clinic at No. 14. MD Anderson Cancer Center ranked No. 27 on the Forbes list and landed the No. 1 spot in cancer care, in 2018, with U.S. News & World Report — something they proudly display on their homepage.

“MD Anderson is proud and grateful to be recognized once again as the leading cancer center in the nation, an honor that reflects our team’s commitment to ending cancer,” Peter WT Pisters, MD, president of MD Anderson, said in a news release. “It is a privilege for our 20,000 employees and 1,000 volunteers to serve those counting on us and to work alongside supportive friends, donors, leaders and advocates in the community.”

How to make the list

If you work for a hospital, “you cannot opt in or out” of the U.S. News & World Report rankings, said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis and managing editor for U.S. News & World Report. The ranking reports are primarily designed for patients, not hospitals, he added.

“There’s no need for a hospital to submit data because we primarily use Medicare data to evaluate hospitals,” Harder said. He added that Medicare data reveals outcomes, like infection rates, patient mortality and readmission rates, all of which affect a hospital’s ranking. Harder said children’s hospitals must fill out a survey because there is no Medicare data.

U.S. News & World Report recognizes hospitals that provide exceptional care in several categories. In the Best Hospitals Honor Roll, it evaluates and ranks 20 hospitals. In its Best Regional Hospitals, it ranks hospitals in 200 metropolitan areas.

Last but not least, the publication ranks which hospitals excel in specialties, like cardiac, orthopedic and oncology, for example.

“We evaluate hospitals in different areas of care. We rank in 25 different areas of adult care, and 10 in children’s care,” Harder said.

However, there is one caveat when it comes to specialty care rankings — and some hospitals have a clear advantage outside the confines of Medicare data. It just depends on whether they choose to share additional data outside hospital walls.

“We encourage transparency, like with a major heart surgery registry,” Harder said. “If they make the information public, they get extra points in our heart bypass rating and aortic valve ratings.”

For those who want to share data publicly, depending on the specialty, Harder said there are other registries to consider. It just may take some additional research to determine which ones are a good fit.

“There are a number of registries,” Harder said. “The government has even established a list of Qualified Clinical Data Registries. Not all of them offer public data sharing, however.”

The following allow public data sharing, Harder said.

Award submission tips

A big mistake that organizations often make when filling out award applications is that they provide way too much information, but not the right information, Dyrda said.

“Be specific, when possible, because we get a lot of people who submit information in generalities,” she said.

Empty claims won’t carry much weight either, Dyrda said. Statements such as “we have a strong nursing team” are ineffective without evidence to back the claim, she said.

Instead, state relevant examples. She suggests mentioning events that receive high attendance or explaining why you have less turnover compared to the national average.

Avoid going back too far in history, she said. List top awards first. She also suggested listing those unique awards that give you bragging rights.

“We have a separate category to list relevant awards,” she said. “I prefer to see something that occurred in the past 12 or 24 months, or if it appears on IBM Watson Health or U.S. News & World Report.”

Don’t be shy about sharing the qualitative aspects of your organization, such as exciting innovations, process improvements and lean initiatives that save costs, Dyrda said. Consider using details about how these changes create successful health outcomes for patients and whether it has an effect on other hospitals.

She cited examples such as “programs more geared toward patients, like telehealth initiatives, or making waiting rooms more accessible and more patient friendly.”

The last piece of advice from Dydra — prioritize your top accomplishments and highlight those in the application.

Recruiting professionals agree you can help the organization establish itself as a recognized leader by including various awards in your marketing materials. Winning local and national awards shows an organization is committed to quality care and positive outcomes — and it’s this kind of recognition that helps attract and retain top talent.

More awards to consider:

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Elise Oberliesen

Elise Oberliesen has 15 years of combined media and marketing experience. Her work appears on corporate blogs and publications, such as the LA Times, Chicago Tribune and AARP. Her specialties include healthcare, high tech and finance. Elise is a member of the Association of Healthcare Journalists and founder of Big Mountain Media.