Cited in Yahoo Health – Here’s What Yelp’s New Data-Driven Hospital Reviews Can Tell You

Screen Shot 2015-08-08 at 12.27.10 PMMaking choices about healthcare providers is important, can be challenging, and can even be anxiety-provoking. Entrusting our health and safety to a stranger is no small thing, and this vulnerability can be amplified by the anxiety we may already feel about our health concerns. When it comes to making a good decision about health care, information is power.  In this way, online reviews can be particularly helpful – especially those that appear reasonable. This is where Yelp and health care are joining forces.

I was very pleased to help out with this article for Yahoo Health, Here’s What Yelp’s New Data-Driven Hospital Reviews Can Tell You. Author Korin Miller describes the positive impact of online reviews can have for consumers selecting healthcare providers, as well as how to navigate the pitfalls of negative reviews to find the ones that are the most useful.

While licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, PsyD, says online reviews for health-care providers are an overall good thing, she agrees that patients should be wary of negative reviews they read. “There is a tendency to be more negative in online reviews or commentary,” she tells Yahoo Health.

We tend to remember negative experiences more acutely than positive experiences and feel a strong drive to protect ourselves and others from a perceived threat, she explains. For some people, that may be as simple as leaving a bad Yelp review.

And, of course, some reviewers can be motivated by revenge or feelings of helplessness when they receive unwelcome news about their health. “Fighting back, or lashing out at a provider, could be an attempt to rebalance a perceived power imbalance,” Clark says. “There is no better avenue to achieve this than attacking a professional’s public reputation and, thus, their bottom line.”

Not sure how to weed out the legitimate reviews from the biased versions? Clark recommends reading each one carefully and relying on the ones that make sense to you.

And, if you’re not sure what to believe, ask your doctor to explain.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD