Are Facebook user ratings associated with hospital cost, quality and patient satisfaction? A cross-sectional analysis of hospitals in New York State

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Abstract

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.

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