Title: The impact of the emergence of internet hospital rating sites on patients' choice: a quality evaluation and examination of the patterns of approach

Authors: Stefan M. Niehues; Martin Emmert; Matthias Haas; Oliver Schöffski; Bernd Hamm

Addresses: Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin, Germany. ' Health Services Management, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg, Lange Gasse 20, 90403 Nuremberg, Germany. ' Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin, Germany. ' Health Services Management, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg, Lange Gasse 20, 90403 Nuremberg, Germany. ' Department of Radiology, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Hindenburgdamm 30, 12203 Berlin, Germany

Abstract: Internet healthcare rating has become a viable tool for guiding patients in making health decisions and already established for medical practitioners. Rating has recently been extended to hospitals. The aim of this study is to describe the basic features of internet healthcare rating sites, to show different approaches and their implementation, and to reveal the possible risks associated with such rating sites. By way of example, we analysed three German and one US hospital rating site to illustrate the various viewpoints and to outline a possible future for rating structures. As a result, we showed that a broad range of information is available concerning the quality of care of hospitals. However, the information provided differs significantly on each site. Several challenges are remaining which have to be addressed in the future. Those include legal issues, technical issues, and the possibility of manipulation.

Keywords: internet ratings; user perception; information reliability; information transparency; healthcare rating; hospital rating sites; patient choice; Germany; USA; United States; quality of care; care quality.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTMKT.2012.046435

International Journal of Technology Marketing, 2012 Vol.7 No.1, pp.4 - 19

Available online: 08 Apr 2012 *

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