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13 Jul

Have you “Yelped” your local hospital?

Have you “Yelped” your local hospital?

Many of us use Yelp to check out reviews on restaurants or hotels but researchers from the University of Pennsylvania recently looked at 17,000 Yelp reviews of 1,352 hospitals and found that the online information site provides a broader sense of a facility than the gold standard - The Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey or HCAHPS.

HCAHPS have been used since 2006 and involves asking discharged patients questions about their stays. The survey covers 11 main categories including communication with nurses and doctors, responsiveness of staff, the cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment and pain management.

Yelp offers both patients and their family members the ability to rate hospitals on a scale of one to five stars and write a review to accompany that rating.

The U-Penn researchers found that the Yelp reviews had information on about 12 additional categories that weren't addressed in the government survey. Those categories include the cost of the hospital visit, insurance and billing, ancillary testing, facility amenities, scheduling, compassion of staff, family member care, quality of nursing, quality of staff, quality of technical aspects of care and specific type of medical care.

The most positive reviews cited in the research included caring doctors and comforting nurses and staff. As for the negative reviews, they included insurance, billing and cost of hospital visit.

As a way to legitimize itself as a serious player in a broader consumer domain, Yelp partnered with ProPublica, a nonprofit news organization, to add information to its site pertaining to hospital ER average wait time.

In 2012, the U-Penn researchers note almost 75 percent of Americans looked for health information online and, while 42 percent looked at health-related reviews by consumers, only six percent had heard of the website where the results of the HCAHPS are publicly available.

Guest Blogger:   Blair Tetenbaum is a Marketing Specialist with Fashion Seal Healthcare.  She brings a strong, up-beat passion to the team with a unique perspective as a millennial.

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