How a Stronger Online Reputation Improves HCAHPS Results

June 19, 2017

Today's healthcare consumers are choosier than ever about the doctors and hospitals they visit.

Why? Because the rising cost of healthcare means more out-of-pocket expenses. Higher premiums and high deductible plans have consumers looking for quality and value in care — and much of this is being done online.

In fact, roughly 77 percent of patients use online reviews as their first step in finding a new doctor. Online reviews provide actionable insights about patient experience that HCAHPS alone doesn’t provide.

But online reviews aren’t only valuable for consumer research — they provide early insight that can help hospitals improve HCAHPS scores. Addressing issues that surface in patients’ reviews and social comments can improve overall patient experience, which is what HCAHPS is designed to assess.

New Research Connects Reviews with HCAHPS Scores

Recently,’s Chief Data Scientist Brad Null and his team analyzed two years of HCAHPS survey data across more than 4,800 hospitals, alongside online reviews, ratings and rankings for the same facilities.

They made a powerful discovery: Positive online sentiment is strongly correlated with higher HCAHPS scores. In fact, by improving online reputation, hospitals can increase their star ratings.

"Having and maintaining strong online ratings is one great way for hospitals with poor HCAHPS ratings to improve,” said Null. “Our analysis shows that among hospitals with a 2-star rating according to HCAHPS, if they maintained a 4-star online rating over the subsequent 12 months, their HCAHPS rating increased by 17 percent, on average, over the following year.”

Download our full report for details on the findings.

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