In addition to reviews written by users, the Yelp pages for many hospitals now include government information about doctors’ communication skills, room noise levels, and emergency room wait times.
The information comes from research by ProPublica, a non-profit public interest group, and is based on patient surveys and data from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“We’re taking data that otherwise might live in some government pdf that’s hard to find and we’re putting it in a context where it makes sense for people who may be in the middle of making critical decisions,” Yelp policy vice president Luther Lowe told the Washington Post.
While prospective patients and their loved ones might appreciate the extra information, some of Yelp’s hospital pages still lack the new box—and those that have it still won’t tell you much great detail about the quality and safety of patient care.
Rather than using Yelp to choose a hospital, you might want to go through the official Medicare.gov “hospital compare” tool, which lists the same information found on Yelp and more.
The Medicare tool lets you view potential hospitals side by side, compare pain management, room cleanliness, and how often staff follow correct protocol, among other factors.
Of course, picking a hospital usually takes more than just reading up on statistics and ratings. For three good rules of thumb about how to narrow down your choices, check out Money contributor Philip Moeller’s piece on how to choose the best hospital.