AHRQ Study Examines How Consumers Find Public Hospital Quality Reports Through Internet and Social Media
A new AHRQ study examined consumers’ use of online searches and social media to find hospital quality and cost information, which may inform their decisions about which health care facilities to use. The study and abstract, titled “Public hospital quality report awareness: evidence from National and Californian Internet searches and social media mentions, 2012,” was published online March 11 in BMJ Open. Researchers used Google searches and a proprietary social media monitoring tool over a 1-year period to investigate consumer online searches for key terms, both nationally and in California. The study revealed that consumers are somewhat aware of publicly available hospital quality reports, have searched for them online and have discussed them with others. Commercially produced hospital quality reports were searched for more often than government reports, although the search term “HospitalCompare” dominated other health-related quality keywords.