January 25, 2015

Social Media and Hospital Quality Perception

Public hospital quality report awareness: evidence from National and Californian Internet searches and social media mentions, 2012.
BACKGROUND: many consumers judge hospital quality based upon online reports and social media comments.

QUESTIONS: how often do consumers search hospital quality information online? Do they mention this information in social media? How positively do they view this information?

METHODS: Google Trends and Google Adwords keyword analyses were evaluated for keywords related to 'top hospital', best hospital', and 'hospital quality', as well an additional six specific hospital quality reports. In addition, a social media monitoring tool was used to investigate social media mentions of, and sentiment towards, major public reports of hospital quality.

RESULTS: Google search volume for 75 national hospital quality-related terms averaged 610 700 searches per month. Healthgrades was more commonly searched for nationally on Google than the federal government's Hospital Compare, which otherwise dominated quality-related search terms.

Social media references in California to quality reports were generally few. Commercially produced hospital quality reports were more widely mentioned than state or non-profit reports.

  • Consumers have some awareness of hospital quality based on Google search and social media.
  • Quality dissemination initiatives may benefit by advertising on Google or Twitter and using social media interactively.

BMJ Open. 2014;4(3):e004417