Should You Use Yelp to Find a Hospital or Doctor?
People use Yelp to find reviews on restaurants, barbershops, retail stores and other businesses. Customers also leave detailed comments describing their experiences with service. Should we use Yelp to rate hospitals or doctors in the same way we do businesses? Would this be a reliable way of finding hospital safety scores?
Yelp does allow patients to rate their doctors, hospitals, dentists and medical centers. Patients who have experienced long wait times, being misdiagnosed or other unfortunate circumstances are free to voice their opinions online. People can type their local hospitals into Google and read their Yelp reviews, along with comments detailing positive or negative experiences.
There are some important considerations to make when it comes to trusting Yelp reviews. First, people are more likely to share bad reviews on rating websites, which may skew the Yelp scores of businesses. Other businesses may skew their Yelp results by using fake good reviews. In short, online reviews of hospitals should be taken with a grain of salt.
How Can Patients Find Hospital Safety Scores?
There are websites that create scores based on data from Medicare, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the Centers for Disease Control, Medicaid and CMS. Websites like www.hospitalsafetyscore.org and www.analyticsmd.com/efficiency have gained media attention for allowing users to research hospital safety scores before receiving treatment.
Instead of researching hospitals by using Yelp (which may be full of angry or fake reviews), try to stick to websites that use government data. There are more than a couple. Also remember that it does take extra diligence to avoid being harmed by medical mistakes. Researching hospitals and doctors beforehand can help you make an informed decision on the type of service you might experience.