Yelp has added health care data to more than 26,000 health facilities listed on its site. The company hopes the effort will grow the user base that visits its site to research and compare health facilities, which make up 6 percent of reviewed business on its site, The Washington Post reports.
The boost in health data on its site is the result of a partnership with nonprofit news organization ProPublica, which compiled relevant data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and its own research. That data has been added to the profiles of 15,000 nursing homes, 6,300 dialysis clinics and 4,600 hospitals listed on Yelp. The data will be updated quarterly and includes information such as noise levels in hospital patient rooms and fines paid for serious deficiencies at nursing homes.
Yelp states that a health facility's rating on its site will continue to be based upon consumer reviews, but CEO Jeremy Stoppelman says consumers "will have even more information at their fingertips when they are in the midst of the most critical life decisions, like which hospital to choose for a sick child or which nursing home will provide the best care for aging parents."
Although much of the data available on the site is available through the Hospital Compare tool offered by CMS, Yelp says its curated additions give patients a quick snapshot of data most relevant to today's health care consumers.
It will be interesting to see if health facilities themselves embrace Yelp's delving deeper into their data. On one hand, it's one more forum where health facilities are put under scrutiny. But, on the other hand, solid data (especially if it's positive) could help to offset biased consumer reviews.
But whether health facilities catch onto it or not, the trend of consumers turning to online reviews when making spending decisions isn't something to ignore. And according to a 2013 study, patients rank Yelp as the most trusted online source to find health care reviews.