Social media complaints about hospitals can actually bring benefits

Data collated from such platforms accurate at predicting outcome of hospital inspections

Discovery has the potential to be used as real-time patient feedback that can catch poorly performing hospitals early on and pinpoint where intervention is needed

Discovery has the potential to be used as real-time patient feedback that can catch poorly performing hospitals early on and pinpoint where intervention is needed

 

It turns out that griping and moaning on social media has some benefits. A new study by researchers from the London School of Economics and Political Science has found that online patient feedback, including Facebook and Twitter comments, is pretty good at pinpointing dodgy hospitals in need of inspection.

The researchers developed and tested algorithms that can parse and analyse thousands of Twitter and Facebook comments left by National Health Service patients in the UK; this data was found to be accurate at predicting the outcome of hospital inspections by the UK Care Quality Commission. This has the potential to be used as real-time patient feedback that can catch poorly performing hospitals early on and pinpoint where intervention is needed.

And it also provides data that isn’t captured by traditional patient feedback forms and surveys. “It gives us an understanding of aspects of care not captured by existing surveys, such as interactions between staff and carers at multiple points along care pathways, and often at a more granular level,” said Dr Alex Griffiths, a researcher at LSE’s Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation and one of the study’s authors.