As more consumers turn to social media to research purchasing decisions, how do sites like Yelp.com compare with traditional sites for hospital quality information?
Thanks to explosive growth in the popularity of social media, millions of consumers routinely use sites like Yelp.com and Facebook.com to research restaurants, retail stores, and even physicians and hospitals.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, were curious whether there was a correlation between these consumer reviews and more traditional measures of hospital quality, such as patient satisfaction surveys, mortality rates, and readmissions.
With support from CHCF, the authors focused on 270 hospitals across the United States with at least five reviews on Yelp.com. The authors compared the hospitals' scores on Yelp with those from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) survey, a more familiar industry benchmark, available on the federal government site HospitalCompare.hhs.gov.
Their research, published in the November 2012 issue of BMJ Quality and Safety, found that hospitals that did the best on Yelp — garnering four or five stars — also tended to have high HCAHPS scores and better mortality rates and readmission outcomes. This suggests that the crowd-sourced reviews may tell stories that relate both to the experience of being a patient at the hospital and how well patients do during the hospitalization and after discharge.
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