Hospitals should advertise quality results online


Consumers are aware of hospital quality based on internet search activity and social media disclosures. Public stakeholders may be able to boost quality awareness by advertising online and using social media.

Those are the key findings of a new AHRQ study, published in BMJ Open. The study, “Public hospital quality report awareness: evidence from National and Californian Internet searches and social media mentions, 2012,” 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 and some 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.

“Public stakeholders may be able to broaden their quality dissemination initiatives by advertising on Google or Twitter and using social media interactively with consumers looking for relevant information,” concluded the report.

AHRQ, Online Advertising, US