Yelp adds health care statistics to medical business listings

By Aditi Pai

Yelp medical facility ratingsCrowdsourced business review website Yelp has partnered with non-profit newsroom ProPublica to add more healthcare statistics to Yelp's 25,000 medical treatment facility business pages.

With this new offering, Yelp will provide customers access to information about hospitals, nursing homes, and dialysis clinics that could help them make more informed decisions about a hospital for a sick child or a nursing home for a user's aging parents.

Yelp will offer these healthcare statistics for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes, and 6,300 dialysis clinics in the US. The data is collected from ProPublica's own research and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Data that Yelp will display includes the number of beds, number of fines paid, number of serious deficiencies, payment suspensions, and emergency room wait times for hospitals. Users can hover over the text to read explanations of the statistics. This information will be updated quarterly.

In exchange for providing this information to Yelp, ProPublica will be able to access all of Yelp's health-care reviews, which they can use for news research, according to the Washington Post. Yelp added that ProPublica does not have access to any extra information about Yelp users besides what's publicly available on the site.

"For example, West Kendall Baptist Hospital has better than average doctor communication and an average 33 minute ER wait time, Beachside Nursing Center currently has no deficiencies, and San Mateo Dialysis Center has a better than average patient survival rate," Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman explained in a blog post.

This isn't the first time Yelp has added healthcare-related data to its listings. In 2013, the company added health scores to restaurant pages so that consumers could see restaurant's health inspection scores when making decisions on where to eat.

There are a number of other services that offer hospital rating and comparison systems for consumers. Earlier this year, a Health Affairs study found that those comparison tools, even from seemingly reputable sources, are wildly inconsistent -- in 27 cases, a hospital was nearly at the top of one list and towards the bottom of another.

The researchers concluded that the reason for this inconsistency was these comparison tools don’t have a consistent and reliable definition of quality, and different rating systems focus on different metrics. But representatives from the ratings companies suggested that this may not be a bad thing, as long as everyone is transparent about the nature of their ratings.