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Study Assesses Facebook Ratings as Basis for Hospital Quality Assessment

Interesting study published in BMJ Quality & Safety that assessed the possibility of using a combination of official and unofficial Facebook ratings and comments as a basis for nationwide hospital quality assessments in Norway.

For the study all hospitals from a national cross-sectional patient experience survey in 2015 were matched with corresponding Facebook ratings. Facebook ratings were correlated with both case-mix adjusted and unadjusted patient-reported experience scores, with separate analysis for hospitals with official site ratings and hospitals with unofficial site ratings. Facebook ratings were also correlated with patient-reported incident scores, hospital size, 30-day mortality and 30-day readmission. Facebook comments from 20 randomly selected hospitals were analysed, contrasting the content and sentiments of official versus unofficial Facebook pages.

The study found that Facebook ratings were associated with patient-reported indicators, hospital size, and 30-day mortality. Qualitative comments from official Facebook are more relevant for hospital evaluation than unofficial sites. Researchers concluded that more research is needed on using Facebook ratings as a standalone indicator of patient experiences in national quality measurement, and such ratings should be reported together with research-based patient experience indicators and with explicit criteria for the inclusion of unofficial sites.

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