Hospitals with more Facebook “likes” tend to have lower death rates, according to a new study recently published in the American Journal of Medical Quality.
The study, titled “Do Patients ‘Like’ Good Care? Measuring Hospital Quality via Facebook,” was based on a survey of all 82 hospitals within a 25-mile radius New York City. The researchers identified 40 hospitals with Facebook pages, and then examined the relationship between 30-day mortality rates, as measured by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the number of Facebook likes; they also examined the relationship between “Likes” and patient recommendations from surveys.
Adjusting for a number of variables, including the size of the hospitals and the length of time they have been on Facebook, the survey found that there was a “strong negative, statistically significant relationship between 30-day mortality and Facebook ‘Likes’ and a positive, statistically significant relationship between patient recommendation and Facebook ‘Likes.’” Regarding the first relationship, a 1% increase in patient mortality was correlated with a 12.35% decrease in patient satisfaction, as reflected in Facebook “Likes.” Meanwhile, on average, a 1% decrease in patient mortality was correlated with 93 more Facebook “Likes.”
Facebook likes were also correlated positively with the number of posts by hospital administrators, the number of posts by community members, and the number of response by hospital administrators to community posts -- all of which suggests an engaged social media presence correlates with a positive hospital experience.
Interestingly teaching hospitals, despite their supposed higher quality of care, were less likely to be liked on Facebook than non-teaching hospitals.