A health policy analyst sees a positive aspect in hospitals using social media to get feedback from their patients.
Hospitals are using Facebook and other sites to gauge how patients felt about their experience at the hospital. Efforts include questionnaires and surveys, along with asking parents for input. The Wall Street Journal does point out that some Medicare payments are based on patient satisfaction, and therefore hospitals are relying on patients as virtual advisers.
Michael Ramlet of The Morning Consult says this approach corrects a problem that has been related to hospital care in the past.
"The real crux of this is that for a long time providers have failed to innovate in the same ways that other industries have,” he says. “So there are physician practices, there are hospitals that in a lot of ways don't know as much about how consumers, patients, their families feel about their experiences. And this is one attempt from hospitals in particular to try and learn more about what did people think of their experiences at the hospitals."
Ramlet believes these are the kinds of things that are going to matter in the future because it's very difficult for the average consumer to know whether a particular hospital offered the highest quality surgery - but they will know what the experience was like for patients in that facility.
"This is just another measure of quality," Ramlet concludes.