- A recent study published in Health Affairs finds Yelp's crowdsourced hospital reviews to be a valuable and unique complement to the data patients and hospitals can glean from official Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (HCAHPS) results.
- The study by University of Pennsylvania researchers analyzed 17,000 consumer Yelp reviews of 1,352 hospitals and is believed to be the first large-scale review of this type of data.
- The researchers concede review sites like Yelp have limitations in that they are not randomized or validated. However, the strengths of such reviews are that they are continuously updated and often include precise details about a patient experience that are relevant to prospective patients and administrators.
The study found the Yelp reviews to be disappointing in some ways but surprisingly valuable in others. The research notes Yelp is free vs. millions of dollars per year to develop the annual HCAHPS results.
In order to compare the Yelp data to HCAHPS data, the researchers used natural language processing to dissect the Yelp narratives and place the information into the same categories used by the HCAHPS. What they found was that Yelp reviews only covered seven of the 11 categories included in HCAHPS, but covered an additional 12 categories that are not addressed by HCAHPS.
Those categories of information unique to Yelp include the cost of the hospital visit, experience with insurance and billing, ancillary testing, facilities, 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 Washington Post highlights.
"They relate to the interpersonal relationships of patients with physicians, nurses and staff," the Post quoted lead study author Benjamin L. Ranard, a junior fellow at the Penn Social Media and Health Innovation Lab.