Study: Nearly 63% of Yelp reviewers give top-ranked hospitals mediocre to poor ratings

Almost two-thirds of online reviewers gave the nation's top 20 hospitals, as ranked by U.S. News & World Report, mediocre to poor ratings on social media website, according to an analysis by Vanguard Communications & Healthcare Process Improvement.

For the analysis, a team of researchers at Vanguard analyzed 2,679 online reviews of 2017's top 20 hospitals.

Here are four report insights.

1. A majority (62.7 percent) of Yelp reviewers rated 2017's top institutions at only one to three stars out of five.

2. The 20 hospitals combined earned an average rating of 3.2 out of five stars.

3. On social media, patients tended to express dissatisfaction with customer service at the hospital far more often than dissatisfaction with clinical performance. Eighty-four percent of complaints on Yelp cited nonclinical service issues as the main source of dissatisfaction. The complaints included chronic billing problems, poor follow-up communication and excessive wait times.

"Our findings suggest [reviewers] focus their online comments more on nonmedical matters such as how many rings or pushed buttons it takes to get a live person on the phone and the availability of parking for a doctor's appointment." said Vanguard Communications CEO Ron Harman King.

4. Most online reviewers dissatisfied with poor customer service ended up praising their physician and freely expressed gratitude for their physician's individual performance. A 2016 analysis of 34,748 online healthcare reviews by Vanguard found 66 percent of American patients gave physicians four to five stars on Yelp.

"People are generally pleased with their care providers," Mr. King said. "The harshest reviews more often than not complain about nonclinical services provided by administrative staffs surrounding the doctors." 


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