I’m not a Facebook expert, in fact, I don’t even have a Facebook page so when I read a recent study about Facebook “likes” and hospitals I had to have someone tell me what it meant.
Facebook has defined “like” as a way to give positive feedback or connect with things and people you care about online. Many restaurants, auto dealers, entertainers and contractors measure “likes” and work hard to increase “likes” because they believe the “like” to be a marketing tool and a way to increase business.
In a study by the American Journal of Medical Quality, researchers examined 40 hospitals in New York City metro area that have Facebook pages, comparing their 30 day mortality rates, patient recommendation rates, and the number of people who clicked on Facebook’s signature thumbs up symbol to “like” them. A decrease in 30 day mortality by one percentage points corresponded with 93 more Facebook “likes”.
The results of the study are interesting but not really a surprise. An increase in the 30 day mortality rate means that fewer patients are around to “like” the hospital! It is exciting to know that people recognize quality care and that they are “liking” hospitals for the right reasons.