Yelp expands into healthcare facility reviews thanks to new access to government data.
People looking for reviews of medical facilities are about to catch a break. The digital review app Yelp is expanding its coverage to include hospitals, nursing homes, and dialysis clinics.
Information such as average ER wait times, quiet room quality, and doctors’ bedside manners will appear on the front page of a hospital’s review page. For dialysis centers you will be able to see readmission and survival expectations as well as the number of beds, inspection deficiencies, and Medicare payment suspensions for nursing homes.
Yelp’s founders, Jeremy Stoppelman and Russel Simmons, say that since the app’s inception in 2004, they have wanted to use the platform to help people find a good doctor.
“People aren’t typing ‘emergency room Santa Monica’ into Yelp for fun,” said Luther Lowe the vice president of public policy at Yelp. “They’re on their way to the hospital and trying to figure out which one has the shortest wait time.”
Today, Yelp announced it would be teaming up with ProPublica, a non-profit investigative journalism outfit. Although ProPublica is typically associated with high-brow journalism and in-depth reporting for the New York Times or NPR, both companies agree they can gain a lot from each other.
Yelp will now have access to ProPublica’s unique data sets, some of which has been gleaned from the federal government. In return, ProPublica will have access to Yelp relevant review data.
“People are coming to Yelp to make these decisions, and it makes so much sense to put this government data in the context where people are actually going to rely on it,” said Lowe.
ProPublica has a long history of going above-and-beyond to inform the public. The company’s collaboration with Yelp now provides it with one more tool to achieve its goals.
Already, six percent of businesses reviewed on Yelp are in the healthcare category.