The number of "likes" on a hospital's Facebook page could be an indicator of hospital quality and patient satisfaction, according to a study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality, FierceHealthIT reports (Gold, FierceHealthIT, 2/21).
The study -- titled, "Do Patients 'Like' Good Care? Measuring Hospital Quality Via Facebook" -- examined 40 hospitals located in the New York City metropolitan area.
Healthcare Innovation Technology Lab researchers performed a quantitative analysis based on the hospitals':
- Facebook data;
- 30-day mortality rates; and
- Patient recommendation rates (HIT Lab release, 2/19).
The study determined that Facebook "likes" are:
- Negatively associated with 30-day mortality rates, with every 93 additional Facebook "likes" corresponding with a one percentage point decline in 30-day mortality rates; and
- Positively associated with patient recommendation.
According to the study's authors, the findings "support the idea that free, widely accessible data made available via social media will continue to find a place in academic assessment of hospital quality."
They noted that the study could provide a "stepping stone" for other researchers to "build on by analyzing data from Facebook and other social media tools against various traditional measures" (FierceHealthIT, 2/21).