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Mo’ Money Mo’ Problems: Why Fees are Skewing Industry Awards

Awards are given in numerous areas of achievement, but when was the last time you saw an award given that you didn't agree with? Oscar for Best Picture? Superbowl MVP?

Almost every organization that administers awards for leading companies across various industries, health care or otherwise, requires one or more fees to be entered to win an award or recognition. These fees do cover the administrative work associated with the ranking process, but they have turned into a blatant inflation of the honest cost of being involved in awards. Aside from the irritating fees, the larger consequence of this costly system is an inaccurate representation of the competitors in an industry. It’s becoming a skewed “pay to play” ranking system, making it more difficult for health care professionals to sort the good companies from the bad.

pMD was recently listed in the Inc. 5000 for the third year in a row. We are excited to have made the list and proud of our growth as one of the fastest growing charge capture and physician communication software companies. And yes, we did have to pay a fee to be included in the analysis of the fastest growing companies in the U.S., but it is the industry standard to apply for any award. We like to think that Inc. is relatively objective because it analyzes a company’s revenue growth over a consistent time frame.

But when we proudly posted this achievement on our website, Inc. representatives informed us that we could not re-post their logo on our site without paying the $1,000 price-tag to display the logo for one year. This experience led us to evaluate how much we’re really spending to be included in the Inc. 5000 ranking system. What about companies who allot zero resources to rankings or awards? Every company should still be included in the industry analysis to produce an honest ranking, and the entrance fee should not be the barrier to entry.

These popular award systems often leave us scratching our heads when we read about a winner that doesn’t match up with our personal experiences or the general public perception. Rankings should be beneficial in rewarding innovation and applauding companies that are at the forefront of their industry and help prospective customers make informed decisions. But these award organizations are setting an unfortunate standard for how expensive it is now to be to included in various rankings.

It is becoming increasingly more difficult to distinguish between who holds the real merit and who simply spends the most cash. We can’t just rely on rankings and awards for reliable information, but must continue to use research, discretion, and industry knowledge.