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December 20, 2016

Learning by Listening—Improving Health Care in the Era of Yelp

Author Affiliations
  • 1Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 2Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 3Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics; University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine, Philadelphia
  • 4Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion, Philadelphia VA Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA. 2016;316(23):2483-2484. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16754

Each month, more than 80 million users read and write reviews on Yelp. To date, more than 42 000 of these reviews describe US hospital experiences. These include comments about individual clinicians but more commonly the entire patient experience—ranging from parking, to navigating a facility, waiting, the cafeteria, the clinical appointment or inpatient stay, the bill, and more. One of the first hospital reviews posted on Yelp read

I have a close friend who is currently a patient. She was admitted through the ER with a serious illness [and] is telling me only good things about this hospital. (She said that her treatment in the ER was ‘quick, accommodating [and] caring’.) I have heard positives from other people as well. My personal experience has been only outpatient testing, but the general consensus seems to be that this hospital is somewhat of a local treasure. Oh, and my friend will be fine—thank you…!

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