Despite the importance of high-quality and patient-centered substance use disorder treatment, there are no standardized ratings of specialized drug treatment facilities and their services. Online platforms offer insights into potential drivers of high and low patient experience.
We sought to analyze publicly available online review content of specialized drug treatment facilities and identify themes within high and low ratings.
This was a retrospective analysis of online ratings and reviews of specialized drug treatment facilities in Pennsylvania listed within the 2016 National Directory of Drug and Alcohol Abuse Treatment Facilities. Latent Dirichlet Allocation, a machine learning approach to narrative text, was used to identify themes within reviews. Differential Language Analysis was then used to measure correlations between themes and star ratings.
Online reviews of Pennsylvania’s specialized drug treatment facilities posted to Google and Yelp (July 2010–August 2018).
A total of 7823 online ratings were posted over 8 years. The distribution was bimodal (43% 5-star and 34% 1-star). The average weighted rating of a facility was 3.3 stars. Online themes correlated with 5-star ratings were the following: focus on recovery (r = 0.53), helpfulness of staff (r = 0.43), compassionate care (r = 0.37), experienced a life-changing moment (r = 0.32), and staff professionalism (r = 0.29). Themes correlated with a 1-star rating were waiting time (r = 0.41), poor accommodations (0.26), poor phone communication (r = 0.24), medications given (0.24), and appointment availability (r = 0.23). Themes derived from review content were similar to 9 of the 14 facility-level services highlighted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.
Individuals are sharing their ratings and reviews of specialized drug treatment facilities on online platforms. Organically derived reviews of the patient experience, captured by online platforms, reveal potential drivers of high and low ratings. These represent additional areas of focus which can inform patient-centered quality metrics for specialized drug treatment facilities.
This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Price includes VAT for USA
Subscribe to journal
Immediate online access to all issues from 2019. Subscription will auto renew annually.
This is the net price. Taxes to be calculated in checkout.
Rudd RA, Seth P, David F, Scholl L. Increases in drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths - United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2016;65(5051):1445–1452. doi:https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm655051e1
Volkow ND, Frieden TR, Hyde PS, Cha SS. Medication-assisted therapies--tackling the opioid-overdose epidemic. N Engl J Med. 2014;370(22):2063–2066. doi:https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp1402780
Ranard BL, Werner RM, Antanavicius T, et al. Yelp reviews of hospital care can supplement and inform traditional surveys of the patient experience of care. Health Aff Proj Hope. 2016;35(4):697–705. doi:https://doi.org/10.1377/hlthaff.2015.1030
Agarwal AK, Mahoney K, Lanza AL, et al. Online ratings of the patient experience: emergency departments versus urgent care centers. Ann Emerg Med. November 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2018.09.029
Lee V. Transparency and trust — online patient reviews of physicians. N Engl J Med. 2017;376(3):197–199. doi:https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJMp1610136
Glover M, Khalilzadeh O, Choy G, Prabhakar AM, Pandharipande PV, Gazelle GS. Hospital evaluations by social media: a comparative analysis of Facebook ratings among performance outliers. J Gen Intern Med. 2015;30(10):1440–1446. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-015-3236-3
Kellogg C, Zhu Y, Cardenas V, et al. What consumers say about nursing homes in online reviews. The Gerontologist. 2018;58(4):e273-e280. doi:https://doi.org/10.1093/geront/gny025
Werner RM, Konetzka RT, Polsky D. Changes in consumer demand following public reporting of summary quality ratings: an evaluation in nursing homes. Health Serv Res. 2016;51:1291–1309. doi:https://doi.org/10.1111/1475-6773.12459
Perraillon MC, Konetzka RT, He D, Werner RM. Consumer response to composite ratings of nursing home quality. Am J Health Econ. December 2017:1–36. doi:https://doi.org/10.1162/ajhe_a_00115
Understanding the Epidemic | Drug Overdose | CDC Injury Center. https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html. Published August 30, 2017. Accessed September 19, 2019.
Scholl L. Drug and opioid-involved overdose deaths — United States, 2013–2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2019;67. doi:https://doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6751521e1
SAMHSA - Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. https://www.samhsa.gov/. .
Factsheet. Yelp. https://www.yelp.com/factsheet. Accessed September 19, 2019.
Merchant RM, Volpp KG, Asch DA. Learning by listening-improving health care in the era of Yelp. JAMA. 2016;316(23):2483–2484. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.16754
Blei DM. Latent Dirichlet Allocation. :30.
Graves RL, Goldshear J, Perrone J, et al. Patient narratives in Yelp reviews offer insight into opioid experiences and the challenges of pain management. Pain Manag. 2018;8(2):95–104. doi:https://doi.org/10.2217/pmt-2017-0050
Lagu T, Hannon NS, Rothberg MB, Lindenauer PK. Patients’ evaluations of health care providers in the era of social networking: an analysis of physician-rating websites. J Gen Intern Med. 2010;25(9):942–946. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-010-1383-0
Lagu T, Metayer K, Moran M, et al. Website characteristics and physician reviews on commercial physician-rating websites. JAMA. 2017;317(7):766–768. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2016.18553
Merchant RM, Asch DA. Protecting the value of medical science in the age of social media and “fake news.” JAMA. November 2018. doi:https://doi.org/10.1001/jama.2018.18416
Agarwal AK, Pelullo AP, Merchant RM. “Told”: the word most correlated to negative online hospital reviews. J Gen Intern Med. February 2019. doi:https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-04870-6
Stronger Than Addiction. https://www.shatterproof.org/. Accessed September 19, 2019.
Shatterproof to Build a Rating System for Addiction Treatment Programs. Shatterproof. https://www.shatterproof.org/press/shatterproof-build-rating-system-addiction-treatment-programs. Accessed September 19, 2019.
This study was financially supported by the Pennsylvania Department of Health – Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program (CURE).
Conflict of Interest
The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.
Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.
About this article
Cite this article
Agarwal, A.K., Wong, V., Pelullo, A.M. et al. Online Reviews of Specialized Drug Treatment Facilities—Identifying Potential Drivers of High and Low Patient Satisfaction. J GEN INTERN MED 35, 1647–1653 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-019-05548-9
- substance abuse
- treatment centers
- social media
- patient experience