Yelp, the online service which provides customer reviews of local businesses, has teamed with the ProPublica news organization to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto Yelp’s business pages for more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities.

The information will be compiled by ProPublica from their own research and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes, and 6,300 dialysis clinics. Although CMS already provides much of the data about hospitals on its Hospital Compare website, the information can be difficult for consumers to navigate and understand, according to Yelp.

To help consumers, hover text on the Yelp business pages will explain the statistics, including hospital readmission rates, nursing home payment suspensions and fines for serious deficiencies, as well as emergency room wait times for hospitals. In addition, the quality of doctor communications with patients and the noise levels in patient rooms will be available online, and patients’ overall reviews regarding the medical facilities.

Also see: Health care shopping patterns point to employee education needs

“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,” writes Jeremy Stoppelman, Yelp’s co-founder and CEO, in a blog.

But, it’s not just consumers that stand to benefit from this information. Health care facilities can learn a great deal from Yelp in terms of patient opinions about them and take the necessary actions to improve in areas where their performance might be lacking.

A November 2014 study of U.S. hospitals and social media, published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, specifically called out Yelp as “an interesting platform for hospitals to gauge patient and public experiences and opinions, which may be helpful when thinking about hospital quality and patient perception.” According to researchers, Yelp reviews can be collected in real time and hospitals can collect reviews and relate them to quality and quality surveys. They also note that Yelp reviews are related to traditional hospital performance measures, which may also be helpful to find measures that are more important to patients.

Greg Slabodkin writes for Health Data Management, a SourceMedia publication.

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