WebMD Choice Awards Overview & Methodology

WebMD Choice Awards Overview

WebMD began the Choice Awards program in 2021 as a way to identify “best in class” health systems in a local region, strictly based on the perspective of patients and healthcare providers. This unique vantage point, without complicated formulas, is the first of its kind in the healthcare industry.

WebMD Choice Awards Assignment

Health system rankings are assigned based on the percentage of respondents who selected a particular health system as their preferred choice. Awards assigned to a health system at the specialty and regional levels may differ from award assignment at the specific treatment and subregion, based on differences in respondent preferences. Health systems receiving an award for a specialty, treatment, region, or subregion, do not prevent others from being recognized at the same award level.

Awards Recognition Assignment

WebMD Elite Choice Award

Health systems that are preferred by patients and physicians 2 to 1 over competitors for a specialty in their local region

WebMD Patient Choice Award

Top 30% of patient preferences, excluding Elite award recipients in that category

Medscape Provider Choice Award

Top 30% of healthcare provider preferences, excluding Elite award recipients in that category

WebMD Choice Awards Survey Methodology

The WebMD Choice Awards program is intentionally designed to measure patients’ perceptions of health systems at the point of choosing care, and gauge healthcare providers’ viewpoints on care delivered by health systems when actively referring in a specific market. Conducted annually beginning in the first quarter of the year, the survey design and methodology are structured to rank current preferences as well as provide information about the reasons behind their choice. The mechanics of the survey approach are detailed below:

WebMD Patient Choice Awards

  • Live poll intercept randomly targeted to relevant condition areas and audiences on WebMD
  • Recruitment drivers in WebMD newsletters and on Facebook
  • Geo-location data based on respondent ZIP code entered in the survey or IP addresses mapped to ZIP codes to gather responses specific to a market
  • Surveys are in-field long enough to gain the required sample size to make relevant judgments on perception
  • Average sample size in 2023 n=938 per specialty

Medscape Provider Choice Awards

  • Survey targets healthcare providers via Medscape email
  • Targeting is a random subset of healthcare providers in primary care and specialty areas
  • Geo-location data based on respondent NPI numbers
  • Surveys are in-field long enough to gain the required sample size to make relevant judgments on referral perceptions
  • Average sample size in 2023 n=277 per specialty

Survey Measurement Goal and Approach

The survey questions were structured to measure general consumer and healthcare provider perception of the best overall health system for a specific specialty.

  • Respondents were first asked to select the health system they believe provides the best overall quality and treatment capability from a predetermined list of health systems.
  • Respondents were also asked a set of follow-up questions to qualify the reason behind their preference as well as to understand their perception of options for care outside their local area.

Questions were mirrored in the consumer and physician surveys.

To assign responses to the correct treatment category, the consumer survey also asked which types of condition-specific treatments or procedures they’ve researched for themselves or someone else in the past 12 months.

Specialties Measured in 2023

The Choice Awards program includes five specialties, and 5-6 underlying treatments/procedures. These were chosen based on volume, the revenue generated for the health system, and the competitive landscape in that local area. They are subject to change from year to year as the market fluctuates over time, and more specialties might be added in the future based on market need.

OncologyBlood Cancer Treatment, Breast Cancer Treatment, Colorectal Cancer Treatment, Lung Cancer Treatment, Prostate Cancer Treatment, Skin Cancer Treatment
CardiologyAngioplasty, Coronary Bypass, Heart Valve Replacement, Pacemaker or Defibrillator Placement, Stent Placement
OrthopedicsArthroscopy, Hip Replacement, Knee Replacement, Rotator Cuff Repair, Spine Surgery
NeurologyBack Pain Relief Surgery, Brain Surgery, Microdiscectomy, Spinal Surgery, Sleep Disorders
GastroenterologyColorectal Surgery, Stomach Cancer Treatment, GERD Surgery, Hernia Repair, Gastric Bypass

Local Regions Measured in 2023

All regions measured represent Designated Market Areas (DMA) unless it was determined that local markets could be represented more accurately.

ArizonaPhoenix Metro Area, Southeast Tucson
Atlanta Metro AreaDowntown/Midtown Atlanta, East Atlanta, North Atlanta, South Atlanta, West Atlanta
Greater Boston RegionMiddlesex & Essex Counties, Norfolk & Plymouth Counties, Providence County (RI) & Bristol County (MA), Southern New Hampshire, Suffolk County
Northern CaliforniaEast Bay, North Bay, Peninsula, Sacramento County, San Francisco County
Chicago Metro AreaCook County, Northeast Chicago, Northwest Indiana
ColoradoColorado Springs-Pueblo, Denver Metro Area, Grand Junction-Montrose
ConnecticutNorthern Connecticut, Southern Connecticut
Dallas-Fort Worth Metro AreaDallas-Plano-Irving Areas, Fort Worth-Arlington-Grapevine Areas
Houston Metro AreaEast Houston, Harris County, North Houston, South Houston, Southwest Houston, West Houston
IndianaEvansville Metro Area, Fort Wayne Metro Area, Indianapolis Metro Area, Lafayette Metro Area, South Bend-Elkhart Metro Area, Terre Haute Metro Area
Los Angeles Metro AreaLos Angeles County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Bernardino, Ventura County
LouisianaNew Orleans, Northern Louisiana, South Central Louisiana
Miami Metro AreaMiami-Dade County, Palm Beach County, Southwest Florida, The Treasure Coast
MichiganCentral Michigan, Detroit Metro Area, Eastern Michigan, Northern Michigan, Southwestern Michigan
MinnesotaDuluth-Superior Areas, Mankato County, Minneapolis-St. Paul Region, Rochester-Mason City Areas
MissouriCentral Missouri, Kansas City Metro Area, Springfield (MO) Metro Area, St. Louis
New York Metro AreaFairfield County (CT), Long Island, Mid-Hudson Valley, New York City, Northern NJ
North CarolinaCharlotte Metro Area, Raleigh-Durham, Piedmont Triad, Upstate South Carolina, Wilmington
OhioCentral Ohio, Cincinnati Metro Area, Dayton Metro Area, Greater Cleveland, Toledo Metro Area
OregonEugene Metro Area, Portland Metro Area
Greater Orlando RegionOrange & Seminole Counties, Volusia-Osceola-Lake Area
Philadelphia Metro AreaDelaware, Pennsylvania Dutch Country, Philadelphia County, Philadelphia Suburbs, Southern New Jersey
Greater Pittsburgh RegionCentral Pittsburgh, Northern Pittsburgh, Southern Pittsburgh
Greater Tampa Bay RegionHillsborough County, Pasco & Hardee Areas, Pinellas County, Sarasota Metro Area
UtahEastern Utah Region, Northern Utah Region, Salt Lake County, Southwestern Utah Region, Western Utah Region
VirginiaGreater Norfolk Region, Greater Richmond Region, Roanoke-Lynchburg Region
WashingtonPuget Sound Area, Seattle Metro Area, Southern Washington, Spokane County
Washington, DC Metro AreaBaltimore County, DC Metro Area, Maryland, Prince George’s & Montgomery Counties

Health System Eligibility

Health systems included in the survey were identified using volumetrics based on third-party data source and internal WebMD expertise. To be eligible, a health system must meet at least one of the following three criteria:

  • Ranks in the top 10 in revenue in a market, as defined by WebMD
  • Ranks in the top 10 in discharge volume in a market, as defined by WebMD
  • Has more than 500 beds across the health system

No application, fee, data submission, or other action is required for health systems to be included in the survey or awards qualification process. All facilities in the target markets are automatically considered as long as the health system meets the eligibility requirements.

Health System Choice Award Licensing

If your health system or hospital was recognized with a WebMD Choice Award, you can license it royalty free. To learn more about award licensing, visit the WebMD Ignite website.

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