By Deborah Schoch, Center for Health Reporting
Last week, a friend of mine was showing her Cal State Long Beach journalism students how to check physicians’ credentials on line when a student’s question stopped her short.
Where is the website, the student asked, that grades the hospitals where those doctors work?
The simple answer: The web abounds in hospital ratings these days, most of them based on consumer comments rather than hard data.
Readers of Yelp, for instance, can rate, not only the local Chinese takeout place, but the hospital up the street. Long Beach Memorial Medical Center — generally respected among its peers — earned only two and a half gold stars out of five on Yelp. It received plenty of comments like AWFUL and NEVER, a complaint about a broken parking pay machine, and a few kind words for its cafeteria’s Chinese chicken salad. Continue reading