Image: Social media interactions can help detect problematic healthcare services (Photo courtesy of Shutterstock).
A new study suggests that a social media collective judgment score can be used to identify high-risk organizations, and is available at a more granular level than the majority of existing data sets.
Developed by researchers at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE, United Kingdom), the Patient Voice Tracking System (PVTS) combines patient feedback from the social websites NHS Choices, Patient Opinion, Facebook, and Twitter to form a near real-time collective judgment score for acute hospitals and trusts on any given date. Collective judgment scores can then be validated through an analysis of the relationship between derived score and subsequent inspection outcomes.
The results of PVTS tracking in 456 hospitals across the United Kingdom revealed that aggregating patient feedback increases the volume and diversity of patient-centered insights into quality of care, with a positive association between the resulting collective judgment score and subsequent inspection outcomes. According to the researchers, the results indicate that the collective judgment score could be used to help authorities prioritize healthcare inspections. The study was published on September 29, 2017, in BMJ Quality & Safety.
“The use of automated, near real-time patient feedback provides an opportunity not only to spot and rectify declining standards of care before they become too serious, but also to quickly identify improvements in care and learn what is behind them,” said lead author Alex Griffiths, PhD, of the LSE. “Moreover, it gives us an understanding of aspects of care not captured by existing surveys, such as interactions between staff and caregivers at multiple points along care pathways, and often at a more granular level.”
In the UK, Twitter has 15.8 million active users, 50% of them aged below 35, predominantly of higher socioeconomic status. Facebook has 37.5 million active users, 56% of whom are aged 35 or over, with users of a lower socioeconomic status over-represented. While demographics data are not available for NHS Choices, the site received 583 million unique visits in 2015, nearly 10 visits for every member of the UK. The combined patient feedback covers a diversity of trusts and hospitals as a result of increased engagement with social media by the NHS.
London School of Economics and Political Science