Public reporting of healthcare outcomes is largely ignored by consumers because the data is often difficult to access and understand. Instead, consumers are increasingly looking to the experiences of their peers - shared in social media - to make all kinds of healthcare decisions. But is that reliance on social media leading to good decisions?
The Journal of General Internal Medicine recently published a study that looked at the extent to which hospitals utilize social media to allow users to provide feedback and ratings and whether user-generated ratings on Facebook® correlate with conventional hospital quality metrics. The standard quality metric for hospitals is the 30-day all cause unplanned hospital readmision rate. When compared to user ratings on Facebook’s five-star rating scale the study found clear correlation:
- Hospitals performing better than the national average on 30-day readmissions were more likely to use Facebook than lower-performing hospitals
- The average Facebook rating for hospitals with low readmission rates was higher than that for hospitals with higher readmission rates
- A one-star increase in Facebook rating was associated with increased odds of the hospital belonging to the low readmission rate group
The take-away: the study supports the concept that aggregate measures of patient satisfaction on social media correlate to traditionally accepted measures of hospital quality. So, consumers relying on peer ratings to assess a hospital’s quality may just be able to take Facebook at face value.
Source: Springer Link