Reviews aggregator Yelp works great for diners trying to find restaurants. But here’s what you didn’t know: it works equally well for people looking for information and opinions about hospitals, too.
In case you’re unaware of it, Yelp founder Jeremy Stoppelman actually created the reviews site in 2004 because he got sick and was struggling to find doctors online. “Back then there was very little information on the Internet,” he said, “It was frustrating. We realized the best way to find a doctor, or other services, was by word of mouth.”
It’s not surprising, then, that Yelp was found recently to provide pretty accurate measures of traditional hospital performance. In fact, according to the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal, positive reviews and high ratings for hospitals correlate with high ratings through the industry-standard patient system. Yelp hospital ratings also significantly correlate with lower mortality and readmission rates.
Basically, what this means is that Yelp’s aggregated hospital reviews and ratings provide an accurate picture of patients’ real-life (offline) experience in hospitals. The higher the rating, the better the hospital performance.
Entitled “The relationship between commercial website ratings and traditional hospital performance measures in the USA,” the study compared Yelp ratings and scores from a standardized measurement of patient satisfaction, called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS). The correlation that the researchers found between Yelp ratings and HCAHPS overall scores (0.49) was unexpectedly high – showing that patients are reporting similar experiences through both the standardized system and the popular online reviews and ratings aggregator.
Reacting to the results of the study, Luther Lowe, director of Public Policy at Yelp, wrote in a blog post: “(This) means that a hospital’s Yelp rating is a pretty darn good measure of what you can expect to experience in real life. Why is that significant? At the end of the day, Yelp’s focused on ensuring our reviews – be they of restaurants or nursing homes – provide an accurate online prediction of one’s offline experience with local businesses.”