What do patients say about emergency departments in online reviews? A qualitative study.


Journal Article

Patients have adopted web-based tools to report on the quality of their healthcare experiences. We seek to examine online reviews for US emergency departments (EDs) posted on Yelp, a popular consumer ratings website.We conducted a qualitative analysis of unstructured, publicly accessible reviews for hospitals available on http://www.yelp.com. We collected all reviews describing experiences of ED care for a stratified random sample of 100 US hospitals. We analysed the content of the reviews using themes derived from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) inpatient care survey. We also used modified grounded theory to iteratively code the text of the reviews, identifying additional themes specific to emergency care. The data were double-coded, and discrepancies were evaluated to ensure consensus.Of the 1736 total reviews, 573 (33%) described patient experiences involving the ED. The reviews contained several themes assessed by the HCAHPS survey, including communication with nurses, communication with doctors, and pain control. The reviews also contained key themes specific to emergency care: waiting and efficiency; decisions to seek care in the ED; and events following discharge, including administrative difficulties.These exploratory findings suggest that online reviews for EDs contain similar themes to survey-based assessments of inpatient hospital care as well as themes specific to emergency care. Consumer rating websites allow patients to provide rapid and public feedback on their experience of medical care. Web-based platforms may offer a novel strategy for assessing patient-centred quality in emergency care.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Kilaru, AS; Meisel, ZF; Paciotti, B; Ha, YP; Smith, RJ; Ranard, BL; Merchant, RM

Published Date

  • January 2016

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 25 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 14 - 24

PubMed ID

  • 26208538

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26208538

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2044-5423

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 2044-5415

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1136/bmjqs-2015-004035


  • eng