Study: Online patient ratings correlate with better hospital care

Best-rated hospitals had 42% lower MRSA rates

Topics: Service, Quality, Performance Improvement, Patient Experience, Safety, Infection Control

February 21, 2012

Positive online patient ratings are associated with better hospital performance and higher quality of care, according to a recent study in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

For the study, researchers from Imperial College London used a website run by the United Kingdom's National Health Service—called NHS Choices—to examine 10,274 hospital ratings posted between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2010. They then compared the ratings to patient outcomes at 146 of the hospitals.

Measures of patient outcomes included death rates, readmission rates, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) rates.

Compared with hospitals that received the worst patient ratings, the study found that the best-rated hospitals had:

  • 42% lower MRSA rates;
  • 11% lower readmission rates; and
  • 5% lower death rates.

The study also found that 68% of all patients who rated a hospital said they would recommend the hospital to a friend. According to the study, hospitals that received such positive recommendations were more likely to have lower mortality rates for high-risk conditions and lower readmission rates.

Felix Greaves—a physician and expert from Imperial College London's School of Public Health—said researchers found "the general trend is that where a hospital's overall performance on clinical measures is good, patients seem to rate it highly—and vice versa" (Gale, CMIO, 2/14; Mason, London Telegraph, 2/15; Zorlu, London Guardian, 2/14).

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