The growing use of social media creates opportunities for patients and families to provide feedback and rate individual healthcare providers. Whereas previous studies have examined this emerging trend in hospital and physician settings, little is known about user ratings of nursing homes (NHs) and how these ratings relate to other measures of quality.Objective
To examine the relationship between Facebook user-generated NH ratings and other measures of NH satisfaction/experience and quality.Methods
This study compared Facebook user ratings of NHs in Maryland (n=225) and Minnesota (n=335) to resident/family satisfaction/experience survey ratings and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) 5-star NH report card ratings.Results
Overall, 55 NHs in Maryland had an official Facebook page, of which 35 provided the opportunity for users to rate care in the facility. In Minnesota, 126 NHs had a Facebook page, of which 78 allowed for user ratings. NHs with higher aid staffing levels, not affiliated with a chain and located in higher income counties were more likely to have a Facebook page. Facebook ratings were not significantly correlated with the CMS 5-star rating or survey-based resident/family satisfaction ratings.Conclusions
Given the disconnect between Facebook ratings and other, more scientifically grounded measures of quality, concerns about the validity and use of social media ratings are warranted. However, it is likely consumers will increasingly turn to social media ratings of NHs, given the lack of consumer perspective on most state and federal report card sites. Thus, social media ratings may present a unique opportunity for healthcare report cards to capture real-time consumer voice.