Background Hospital care costs are high while quality varies across hospitals. Patient satisfaction may be associated with better clinical quality, and social media ratings may offer another opportunity to measure patient satisfaction with care.
Objectives To test if Facebook user ratings of hospitals are associated with existing measures of patient satisfaction, cost and quality.
Research design Data were obtained from Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Hospital Compare, the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System impact files and the Area Health Resource File for 2015. Information from hospitals’ Facebook pages was collected in July 2016. Multivariate linear regression was used to test if there is an association between Facebook user ratings (star rating and adjusted number of ‘likes’) and Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) patient satisfaction measures, the 30-day all-cause readmission rate, and the Medicare spending per beneficiary (MSPB) ratio.
Subjects One hundred and thirty-six acute care hospitals in New York State in 2015.
Results An increase in the Facebook star rating is associated with significant increases in 21/23 HCAHPS measures (p≤0.003). An increase in the adjusted number of ‘likes’ is associated with very small increases in 3/23 HCAHPS measures (p<0.05). Facebook user ratings are not associated with the 30-day all-cause readmission rate or the Medicare spending per beneficiary ratio.
Conclusions Results demonstrate an association between HCAHPS patient satisfaction measures and Facebook star ratings. Adjusted number of ‘likes’ may not be a useful measure of patient satisfaction.
- social media
- hospital quality
- patient satisfaction
- cost of care
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Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent Detail has been removed from this case description/these case descriptions to ensure anonymity. The editors and reviewers have seen the detailed information available and are satisfied that the information backs up the case the authors are making.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Correction notice This paper has been amended since it was published Online First. Owing to a scripting error, some of the publisher names in the references were replaced with ‘BMJ Publishing Group’. This only affected the full text version, not the PDF. We have since corrected these errors and the correct publishers have been inserted into the references.