With people using online reviews to choose nearly everything they buy, they eventually had to get around to including hospitals. A report from the Manhattan Institute and funded by the New York State Health Foundation suggests that Yelp can be useful in guiding patients to hospitals with better quality.
The study found that higher Yelp ratings are correlated with better-quality hospitals and particularly with rates of preventable readmissions. There also was a correlation between Yelp scores and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient experience measures for the hospitals in the study.
Yelp partnered with ProPublica in 2015 to publish average wait times, readmission rates, and the quality of communication scores for more than 25,000 hospitals, nursing homes, and dialysis clinics.
“We find that higher Yelp ratings are correlated with better-quality hospitals and that they provide a useful, clear, and reliable tool for comparing the quality of different facilities as measured by potentially preventable readmission rates, a widely accepted metric,” the authors reported. “We do not argue that Yelp alone is, or can be, the only guide to quality hospitals. However, when people can choose where they will obtain care — as do patients with traditional Medicare coverage for elective or planned surgeries, or when consumers can choose among insurance options — Yelp ratings can provide a helpful guide.”
The report suggests that when patients seek out specialists for surgical or other hospital procedures, these specialists’ hospital privileges could factor in their decisions, providing another data point in addition the traditional referral. The usefulness of Yelp reviews should improve as the number of reviews increases, the study says.
The report is available online at http://bit.ly/2stEYMI.