One study suggests Yelp reviews can improve government reports on hospital quality ;
Yelp reviews hospitals cover topics that are not found in the survey of federal government hospital experiences of patients, according to results a new study by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Additional information, which the authors say tends to be strongly linked to the positive or negative comments from contributors Yelp, could influence decision-making on the patient where hospital care, and provide valuable information for managers of hospitals, carers and politicians. The study is published today in the April issue of Health Affairs .
publishes opinions Yelp many online sources on local businesses and services. It is the 33rd most visited site in the United States, with 142 million unique monthly visitors. On the site, patients are able to give hospitals a rating of one to five stars, and provide the narrative components that often reflect the characteristics of an experience in the most important for them to hospital.
In the new study, researchers compared Yelp approximately 17,000 comments 1,352 hospitals comments HCAHPS of the institutions themselves. The HCAHPS (Consumer Assessment Hospital Health Professionals and Systems) Survey (pronounced “H-Caps”), is a study tool and data collection standard that has been in use since 2006 to measure the outlook for the patient hospital care in 11 different categories.
“Nearly 75 percent of Internet users reported US searching for health information in 2012,” said lead author of the study Raina M. Merchant, MD, MSHP, assistant professor of Emergency Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn, and the director of Social Media Innovation Lab Penn and Health. “Forty-two percent reported watching the media for consumer feedback related to health. Meanwhile, only six percent of Americans had heard of the government website where the HCAHPS survey reported , from 2008. This divergence presents an opportunity for consumer opinion online to increase and even improve formal systems of qualification as HCAHPS and increase its use in making consumer decisions. “
The researchers used techniques of natural language processing to analyze the text of hospitals Yelp narrative reviews published on July 15, 2014 to produce underlying categories. For example, an ad containing the terms “pain, doctor, nurse, says, drugs, medicines, say,” marked in the category of “pain medication.” Whenever possible, the categories were assigned to corresponding HCAHPS domains. For example, “pain medication” was assigned to the domain HCAHPS pain control.
While Yelp reviews include information on seven of the 11 domains HCAHPS, the research team discovered 12 additional categories covered in Yelp reviews that are not covered by the HCAHPS survey: cost of the visit to the hospital, insurance and billing, additional tests, facilities, services, programming, compassion staff, caring for a family, quality of nursing staff quality, the quality of the technical aspects of care, and the specific type of medical care.
For example, the “compassion of staff” is not an element of the HCAHPS survey but the question was widely reported under the answers “How often doctors or nurses  communicated well with patients ? ” In addition, four of the five main themes Yelp most strongly associated with positive review scores Yelp were not covered by HCAHPS domains. These include: the care of doctors, nurses and staff; dildo; surgery / procedure and peri-operative; and childbirth.
“These topics are covered in Yelp’s comments are important because they relate to interpersonal relationships of patients with doctors, nurses and staff,” said the study’s lead author, Benjamin L. Ranard, a fellow Penn high School in Social media and Innovation Lab Health and an MD / MS combined in the student Health Policy Research at the Perelman School of Medicine. “Prospective patients are likely to want to know how to care and caregivers are comforting in various departments of a hospital.”
Two of the top five Yelp categories most strongly associated with negative scores Yelp review – insurance and billing, and the cost of hospital visit -. They are also not covered by HCAHPS
Citing previous research, the authors note that formal surveys such as HCAHPS suffer from low response rates and usually involve significant delays between hospitalization and public reporting of results. Finally, although assessments can provide a general indication of patient satisfaction, which rarely identify the source of the perceived problems. The researchers add that although reviews on social media sites are not randomly assigned at present are largely uncurated part, not validated, and subject to the games, which are free, continuously updated, and often reveal in detail what the problem was or positive event that affected the patient experience or family member.
“Yelp reviews are Real-time and often written by patients for patients,” Merchant said. “In addition, the perception of the patients what more they can change over time. HCAHPS may not be able to respond as quickly to changes such as social media .”
To make useful for readers comments, the Penn team suggests Yelp could highlight the most useful positive and negative reviews , a practice that is becoming increasingly popular on websites consumer and Amazon.com.
results HCAHPS survey publicly report on the Centers for Medicare website and Medicaid Services Hospital comparison, the rates of all US hospitals that receive Medicare payments in a variety of measures quality. HCAHPS scores the survey serve as a partial basis for the CMS pays hospitals for Medicare services. Hospitals with poor HCAHPS and other scores may see cuts of up to two percent in Medicare payments. HCAHPS Scores are based on a random sample of eligible downloads.
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