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Study Finds Hospitals With Higher Yelp Ratings Have Fewer Preventable Readmissions

Researchers at the Manhattan Institute recently published a study showing that higher Yelp ratings correlate with lower potentially preventable readmission rates (PPR), a widely accepted metric for hospital quality, concluding that Yelp is a “useful, clear, and reliable tool for comparing the quality of different facilities.”

The researchers chose to use preventable readmissions, instances where the reason for readmission is clinically related to a prior admission (and therefore potentially preventable), because this statistic more strongly indicates problems with quality of care.

Previous studies have found that Yelp reviews can provide a broader sense of hospital facilities than the government survey, called the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems Survey (or HCAHPS), widely regarded as the industry standard for patient feedback. Additionally, a 2014 study found that high Yelp ratings for hospitals correlate with high ratings through the HCAHPS, as well as with lower readmission and mortality rates. This new study goes further by focusing on potentially preventable readmission rates and upholds the findings of previous papers.

These findings show that Yelp ratings are indicative both of outcomes metrics like PPR and patient survey metrics like HCAHPS. Looking at the research, it’s pretty clear that Yelp is providing important information about hospitals. In addition to the metrics that are already out there, Yelp reviews can help to provide information that you wouldn’t find in any other source, which is perhaps where Yelp adds the most value.

Choosing a healthcare provider is a complex decision, and we’re happy that Yelp can help people find the information they need. Thanks to our partnership with ProPublica, Yelp also displays healthcare statistics from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities, including hospitals, nursing homes, and dialysis clinics. Providing this information alongside Yelp reviews and ratings should help consumers make more well-informed choices.

There’s been a huge effort to better understand and report on hospital quality in recent years, including cardiac report cards and Medicare’s Hospital Compare. While Yelp is certainly not the only source of healthcare information, it’s an approachable and easy-to-access resource that millions of consumers are already using every day, making it an important piece of the healthcare quality puzzle. We’re glad to be able to point consumers in the right direction for the broad range of their local needs, from fun stuff like restaurants and nightlife to the more weighty purchase decisions, like hospitals and dentists, that directly impact personal health.