Empowering Health Care Consumers


Manhattan Institute

Funding Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers


April 12, 2017


This NYHealth-funded report by Manhattan Institute assesses if patient-generated website reviews and ratings on social media correlate with objective quality measures for New York State hospitals.

Regardless of what changes Congress may make to the Affordable Care Act, patients will continue to face potentially high-stakes financial decisions when choosing providers. Information on cost effectiveness and quality is especially critical for the hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers with high-deductible health plans or plans with small networks of covered hospitals and physicians. Yet reliable information on hospital quality can be difficult for the average patient to obtain.

The report finds that user-generated ratings of hospitals in New York State do align with more objective quality measures and that Yelp star ratings can be a valid proxy, providing free, accurate, and easy-to-understand quality indicators for hospital care. When compared with objective measures of hospital quality—such as preventable readmissions and mortality rates— higher Yelp ratings correspond to higher quality. Although Yelp should not be used as a sole predictor of hospital quality, the report finds that Yelp can present patients with an opportunity for navigating the health care system more easily. The report also recommends that New York policymakers explore simple reforms to make social media reviews on hospital quality more readily available to patients to help them in their decision-making.