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Additional considerations for ‘Harnessing the cloud of patient experience’
  1. Courtney R Lyles ,
  2. Urmimala Sarkar
  1. Division of General Internal Medicine, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Courtney Lyles, Center for Vulnerable Populations, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, California 94110, USA; LylesC{at}

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We were pleased to read the recent article by Greaves et al1 outlining new methodological techniques to analyse patients’ online ratings of care. We agree with the authors that social media websites not only represent a wealth of first-hand patient experiences with health and health care but also have largely remained untapped by biomedical researchers, especially to gain new insights into how to improve clinical care. We concur that ‘big data’ techniques, such as machine learning and natural language processing, can be extremely powerful to synthesise the large amount of textual data on these sites.

However, …

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.