A New Way to Get Information About a Hospital

Disclaimer: Results are not guaranteed*** and may vary from person to person***.

Jurmain_110313Here’s a radical idea: Facebook could be a valuable resource when deciding which hospital to go to.

Is your local hospital on Facebook? If so, what can you learn from its page? A new study suggests that you can glean quite a bit of information based on what Facebook users think about that hospital.

A study in the American Journal of Medical Quality has published a new study showing that a hospital’s Facebook page might be an indicator of its quality. Researchers who studied Facebook pages from 40 New York hospitals discovered that the number of “likes” on their pages was an important indicator, not only of patient satisfaction, but also of quality of care.

We usually hear about patient surveys that reflect a hospital’s care. But social media can hint at the very same information. Facebook can offer a gauge of how patients respond to a particular hospital.

The study took 30-day mortality rates (percentage of patients who die within a month of admission) and patient recommendations and compared them to the number of “likes” on the hospitals’ Facebook pages. Sure enough, those “likes” were linked with positive patient recommendations. The researchers found a correlation that for every one percentage the 30-day mortality rate dropped, there were nearly 100 more Facebook “likes.” Hence, positive results were being rewarded online.

PLUS: How where you go could increase your cancer survival rate.

So, have you fired up the computer and checked Facebook to see if your hospital is on there? Give it a shot and see how the “likes” and comments make you feel. Or, perhaps you are choosing between two different hospitals—in this case, Facebook could be a valuable resource.

Now, this study is not proof that hospitals that are popular on social media sites like Facebook are more likely to have better care and better quality doctors. There may be other reasons why this hospital has a lot of Facebook “likes” (perhaps they regularly interact with people through social media), but what the study shows is that you can learn a lot about your hospital by doing some simple research online. Don’t rely just on the number of Facebook “likes”—also do your research and find out which specialty your hospital is known for and don’t be afraid to get a second opinion.

Source(s) for Today’s Article:
Timian, A., et al., “Do Patients ‘Like’ Good Care?: Measuring Hospital Quality via Facebook,” American Journal of Medical Quality; published online February 1, 2013.