Yelp, the service best known for giving you a place to rant about the hair you found in your burrito, is now providing wait times at your local hospitals.
In a blog post on Wednesday, Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman wrote that the company was excited “to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities” on their service.
Entries for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes, and 6,300 dialysis clinics are being augmented with data provided by ProPublica, the public interest journalism organization, and include information folded in from Medicare.gov. This information is not yet available on the mobile app but will be rolled out there soon.
Among the information included: emergency room wait times, the compassion and professionalism of the nursing staff, and how quiet the rooms are. For nursing homes, information includes the number of open beds at the facility and whether the government has fined the clinic.
Six percent of Yelp usage relates to health, so putting energy into this sector is not incidental to the company. Especially given Yelp’s recent revenue troubles.
The arrangement with ProPublica is not just beneficial to Yelp. As Charles Ornstein wrote on the nonprofit’s site, “ProPublica gets an unprecedented peek inside Yelp’s vast trove of 1.3 million health reviews.”
The data is so extensive and complex that the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the NYU Polytechnic School of Engineering built a special tool, RevEx, so ProPublic could search and sort the entries effectively.
Among the more interesting information ProPublica has gleaned from the site already is that “there are far more five-star ratings than one star.”
Doctors and other healthcare professionals have gone as far as to sue their patients for posting negative reviews, but that hasn’t seemed to put the brakes on much. In fact, the healthcare business with the most reviews on Yelp, the low-cost chain Western Dental, also arguably has the worst. Of 3,000 reviews, which net it an average rating of 1.8 stars, 379 use the word “horrible.”
Illustration by Max Fleishman