Objectives: To identify the self-reported behaviour of the public in reading and writing online feedback in relation to health services.
Methods: A face-to-face cross-sectional survey of a representative sample of the UK population. Descriptive and logistic regression analyses were undertaken to describe and explore the use of online feedback.
Results: 2036 participants were surveyed, and of 1824 Internet users, 42% (n = 760) had read online health care feedback and 8% (n = 147) had provided this feedback in the last year. People more likely to read feedback were: younger, female, with higher income, experiencing a health condition, urban dwelling, and more frequent internet users. For providing feedback, the only significant association was more frequent internet use. The most frequent reasons for reading feedback were: finding out about a drug, treatment or test; and informing a choice of treatment or provider. For writing feedback they were to: inform other patients; praise a service; or improve standards of services. 94% had never been asked to leave online feedback.
Conclusion: Many people read online feedback from others, and some write feedback, although few are encouraged to do so.
Practice implications: This emerging phenomenon can support patient choice and quality improvement, but needs to be better harnessed.
Keywords: Consumer behaviour; Internet; Nurses; Patient experience; Physicians; Policy.
Copyright © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.