Comments made on Internet sites by patients about their experience of the NHS care they have received are increasing. In an article published in BMJ Safety & Quality, Felix Greaves and colleagues examined the association between such online patient reports and conventional measures of patient experience. They compared hospital level associations between web-based patient ratings on the National Health Service (NHS) Choices website and more conventional measures of patient experience.
They did this by carrying out a study of all acute general NHS hospital trusts in England using information from patient ratings on the NHS Choices website. Greaves and colleagues reported that web-based ratings of patients' experience of NHS hospital care were associated with ratings derived from a more conventional patient survey.
They concluded that web-based ratings that patient made about their care, despite being prone to many biases, are correlated with survey measures of patient experience. Such ratings may therefore be useful for patients when choosing healthcare providers.