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Yelp’s Consumer Protection Initiative: ProPublica Partnership Brings Medical Info to Yelp

Yelp exists to empower and protect consumers, and we’re continually focused on how we can enhance our service while enhancing the ability for consumers to make smart transactional decisions along the way.

A few years ago, we partnered with local governments to launch the LIVES open data standard. Now, millions of consumers find restaurant inspection scores when that information is most relevant: while they’re in the middle of making a dining decision (instead of when they’re signing the check). Studies have shown that displaying this information more prominently has a positive impact.

Today we're excited to announce we’ve joined forces with ProPublica to incorporate health care statistics and consumer opinion survey data onto the Yelp business pages of more than 25,000 medical treatment facilities. Read more in today’s Washington Post story.

We couldn’t be more excited to partner with ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize winning non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.

The information is compiled by ProPublica from their own research and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for 4,600 hospitals, 15,000 nursing homes, and 6,300 dialysis clinics in the US and will be updated quarterly. Hover text on the business page will explain the statistics, which include number of serious deficiencies and fines per nursing home and emergency room wait times for hospitals. For example, West Kendall Baptist Hospital has better than average doctor communication and an average 33 minute ER wait time, Beachside Nursing Center currently has no deficiencies, and San Mateo Dialysis Center has a better than average patient survival rate.

Now the millions of consumers who use Yelp to find and evaluate everything from restaurants to retail will have even more information at their fingertips when they are in the midst of the most critical life decisions, like which hospital to choose for a sick child or which nursing home will provide the best care for aging parents.

Nursing Home Yelp highlight

Beyond providing all kinds of helpful information, we also protect consumers by shielding them from attempts by business owners and others to mislead them with false, incomplete or biased information. That's why we launched Yelp’s Consumer Alerts, why we actively enforce our policy requiring firsthand experiences and relevancy, and why we use recommendation software to only recommend reviews that best reflect the opinions of the Yelp community.

And we have much more planned. We're aiming to add more restaurant health scores for cities and counties across the US on Yelp. We're working with cities to provide a feed of Yelp restaurant reviews to aid planning decisions for inspections and faster discovery of outbreaks. We also hope to expand our partnership with ProPublica in the future to include additional categories of information, and have already shared a data set from Yelp’s vast collection of user generated content to inform their research and reporting.

Internally, we refer to all these efforts under the collective umbrella of Yelp's Consumer Protection Initiative. But it might just be easier to say: Yelp's got your back.

If you have other ideas for our Consumer Protection Initiative or feedback on efforts Yelp currently has underway, including today's ProPublica data partnership launch, please provide it here.