Manhattan Institute for Policy Research
Empowering Health Care Consumers
July 2016 – June 2017
Consumers and patients seek various sources of information to evaluate the quality of a health care provider and inform their health care decisions.
Patients typically turn to the internet and social media for such information, often going to sites such as Yelp, Healthgrades, and ZocDoc. These reviews increasingly inform consumers’ decisions about where to go for care and cover topics not traditionally captured in clinical data but which reflect patient experience, such as ease in getting requests met or the quality of treatment by frontline staff. Although these reviews are subjective and informal, they are gaining attention for offering information that patients are seeking—a valuable complement to scientifically rigorous measures. Objective hospital quality metrics and survey tools are often expensive to deploy and have low response rates, and there may be significant delays between hospitalization and public reporting of results. Consumer reviews on social media platforms, such as Yelp, enable patient-driven input on the health care system that is timely and accessible to all. In 2016, NYSHealth awarded a grant to the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (Manhattan Institute) to examine if Yelp star ratings of hospitals in New York State match up with objective hospital quality measures.