The online consumer review company Yelp is entering the high-stakes world of gauging patient satisfaction.
Yelp will offer quality statistics for hospitals, nursing homes and dialysis clinics during a time when metrics are being scrutinized for their usefulness and accuracy.
Yelp, best known for consumer reviews of restaurants, is partnering with the not-for-profit investigative journalism organization ProPublica, which gathers the statistics from its own research and the CMS. The statistical data will appear in an "About this provider" box,which will appear above the consumer reviews of a facility on its Yelp business page.
Some of the information that will be made available includes deficiencies and fines for nursing homes, ratings on doctor communication, and patient-satisfaction survey results for hospitals. The data won't affect the star rating for the provider, which is based on consumer reviews.
“Now the millions of consumers who use Yelp to find and evaluate everything from restaurants to retail will have even more information at their fingertips when they are in the midst of the most critical life decisions, like which hospital to choose for a sick child or which nursing home will provide the best care for aging parents,” Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote in a blog post on the site.
Nancy Foster, vice president for quality and patient safety policy for the American Hospital Association, said hospitals have long supported quality data transparency, but patients should keep in mind that Yelp is one of many tools.
“Fundamentally, American hospitals believe that it's really important that patients have information about the quality of hospitals,” she said.
Some metrics will matter more to certain patients and some are more scientifically valid than others. Information found online can vary widely and talking to a doctor or nurse can help patients understand the statistics, she said.
“People should use a variety of information for such an important decision as where you get care,” she said.
A recent study found that metrics often lead patients in a totally wrong direction.
For example, hospitals most often penalized by the CMS for not reducing hospital-acquired conditions are those that do well on other publicly reported quality measures and are accredited by the Joint Commission, the study found.
Yelp had an average of 142 million unique visitors in the first quarter of 2015, according to its website.
The effort is part of what Yelp calls its Consumer Protection Initiative, which has also included adding restaurant health inspection information.