Study: Hospitals’ Readmission Rates Correlate With Facebook Ratings

March 16, 2015 in News

Hospitals’ ratings on Facebook appear to correlate with their quality of care, according to a study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, FierceHealthcare reports (Small, FierceHealthcare, 3/13).

Details of Study

The study aimed to assess how hospitals’ 30-day readmission rates related to their Facebook star ratings. Since late 2013, Facebook has given organizations the option of allowing users to rate them using a five-star system.

For the study, researchers analyzed 30-day readmission data available on CMS’ Hospital Compare website for 4,800 U.S. hospitals. The data showed that:

  • More than 80% of hospitals had rates in the expected national average range;
  • 8% had rates significantly above average; and
  • 7% had rates significantly below average (Massachusetts General Hospital release, 3/12).

Findings

The researchers found that:

  • 93% of low-readmission hospitals had Facebook pages;
  • 82% of high-readmission hospitals had Facebook pages; and
  • Overall, more than 80% of low- and high-readmission hospitals with Facebook pages offered the Facebook ratings option.

According to the study, each one-star increase in a facility’s Facebook rating correlated with a more than five-fold increase in the likelihood that the hospital would fall into the low readmission group, PsychCentral reports.

Readmission rates did not appear to be tied to other data on hospitals’ Facebook pages, such as:

  • How long a hospital’s page had been operational;
  • The hospital’s number of “likes”; and
  • The number of times users reported they had visited the hospital.

Lead author McKinley Glover, a clinical fellow in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Radiology, said, “While we can’t say conclusively that social media ratings are fully representative of the actual quality of care, this research adds support to the idea that social media has quantitative value in assessing the areas of patient satisfaction — something we are hoping to study next — and other quality outcomes” (Pedersen, PsychCentral, 3/15).

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