Applause, success and winner with doctors in meeting for presentation, medical and research. Training, healthcare and diversity with group of people in workshop event for medicine, target or teamwork

To Be or
Not to Be?

Physician directories are not just functional tools they are integral to a hospital system’s brand identity, credibility, patient experience, and perception. Here’s how:

Credibility and Trust: A comprehensive, accurate directory reinforces the hospital’s credibility. Patients trust institutions that provide transparent information about their physicians. An up-to-date and user-friendly directory reflects positively on your brand.

Consistency: A consistent format and design for physician profiles create a cohesive brand experience. Whether patients access the directory online, through printed materials, or in person, the consistent presentation reinforces your identity.

Specialization and Expertise: Highlighting physicians’ specialties and areas of expertise showcase the hospital’s strengths. For instance, if a hospital excels in cardiology, featuring renowned cardiologists in the directory reinforces its brand as a cardiac center of excellence.

Community Connection: Physician directories connect hospitals to their local communities. When patients recognize familiar names or see physicians who live in the area, it fosters a sense of community and strengthens the hospital’s ties to its surroundings.

Patient Experience: An easy-to-navigate directory enhances the patient experience. When patients can quickly find relevant information about physicians, including photos, bios, and patient reviews, it contributes to overall satisfaction with the hospital.

So, how do you decide which physicians or groups to include in your directory? This is fundamentally a brand question. Below are four steps to help you think through this process.

Technology Concept Business Cart

Create a Brand
Decision Tree

A modified brand decision tree is a lasting, objective means of repeating decision-making repeatedly. Here are some questions we’ve built into other decision trees. We put these as yes/no questions to drive toward a decision. The “null” response indicates that you shouldn’t include them in the director or give them access to your brand.

  • Do they meet your requirements to associate with your brand? (e.g., quality requirements, brand experience standards, share of referral volume)
  • Do you accrue benefits from the association? (e.g., scale, geographic access, specialty coverage)
  • Are they willing to promote your brand? (e.g., events, joint branding)

Define the Means
of Alignment

There are many ways to align brands, not just the use of your logo. Cohesive messaging, visual vocabulary, and service standards are just a few. Consideration should be made for different types of brand associations. This might vary based on the level of brand benefit outlined above. For example, those who meet only minimum thresholds might be included in your online directory only. For others that meet higher standards of brand benefit, they might get access to branding for their offices (e.g., as part of an affiliation agreement).

Above all, it is important to map out how you will you ensure support of clarity, connectedness, cost, and concentration. See our white paper on Brand Architecture for more about these principles.


Demonstrate Brand Equity Improvements

As this alignment takes place, celebrate successes, especially on the financial front. Communicate the financial impacts of the association, both internally and externally (e.g., referral growth, market share, patient feedback).

Examine experience seamlessness, particularly in the digital journey (e.g., navigation), but also in access to care. Lastly, track your reach including SEO and familiarity (e.g., consumers’ associations with a new specialty or geography).

The deployment of a directory is only one step, albeit an important one. Now that you’ve made investments in your physician partners, we suggest continuing to strengthen those ties. Here are some examples of further steps you can take to build upon this important resource.

  • Ensure physicians and groups are prepared with brand guidelines
  • Offer regular training on what it means to deliver on your brand promise
  • Monitor messaging for consistency
  • Keep resources updated
  • Provide opportunities for feedback

Deciding which physicians or groups to include in healthcare systems directories is a crucial branding decision that impacts patient experience and brand trust. Utilizing a brand decision tree provides an objective, repeatable method to evaluate potential inclusions based on quality standards, benefits to the brand, and willingness to promote the brand.


John McKeever MBA

Chief Growth Officer

John McKeever supports leaders who are seeking to make high impact changes in their business, primarily to advance strategies for growth and business optimization.

Let’s Talk

We will help you overcome strategic challenges to realize the business value you seek.


Our friendly team is here to help.


Mon-Fri from 8am to 5pm.

(713) 877-8130