Clipboard, rating stars, pen. Quality control, customers reviews, service rating

You may have seen recent coverage of Yelp’s review platform for nursing homes, such as this May 2018 piece from the New York Times, comparing it with CMS and other rating measures.

So how does this affect you?

User-driven feedback is key

While CMS ratings include measures such as staffing, health inspections, and quality measures that are meant to address aspects of the quality of care residents typically receive, the New York Times notes that they don’t factor in a family or resident’s feelings about the facility.

In addition, there has been a lot of publicity about companies “gaming the system” to inflate their ratings. A Brookings Institution report in 2016 later confirmed the trend—4- and 5-star ratings were becoming more common, even though user reviews on other sites were low.

It’s becoming more important than ever for businesses to have transparent, consistent user reviews. So it’s no surprise that ambiguous ratings that can be inflated and inaccurate aren’t satisfying families and consumers. Having a high rating on Nursing Home Compare, A Place for Mom and Caring.com can help, but these platforms only make up one piece of the puzzle—and not a very reliable one at that. Referral sources and customers are becoming aware that:

  • Nursing Home Compare offers factual ratings from federal agencies but doesn’t offer user-driven feedback.
  • A Place for Mom is paid by the nursing homes they refer people to, which immediately lowers the degree of trust families will have in these reviews.
  • Caring.com provides user-driven reviews that can be wildly inaccurate (one nursing home might receive reviews for an entirely different company on its page).

Yelp provides information over data

While platforms like CMS’ Nursing Home Compare provide families with data, studies are showing that people want information. Yelp provides this through pure user feedback—which, when potential patients, residents, and families are dealing with such a personal life-changing choice, is key.

Yelp offers a way for consumers to address intangibles such as staff attitude and caring, the warm and welcome feelings around the facility itself, and how residents feel while living there. These reviews touch less on safety concerns or things such as quality of health care (not to be confused with the level of caring they feel the staff may have towards residents).

Yelp has an algorithm that tries to identify fake reviews and puts them into a separate category, Not Recommended, that is still visible for users to read but has the designation of being unreliable. Yelp now also allows users to see ProPublica data, similar to that shown on CMS.

What this means for you

Online reputation has never been about putting all your eggs in one basket—rather, the ideal scenario is to have a few eggs in several baskets. Putting a bit of effort into Facebook, Google My Business, and Yelp (some of the more trustworthy user-driven review generators) can really bolster your online presence and reputation.

By claiming your pages on Google My Business and Yelp, you can be notified when new reviews come in—and what’s best, with schema markup (stay tuned for more!), you can showcase those reviews on your Google listing to make yourself stand out amongst the competition.