The Spark

Hospitals hope to beat Yelp at its own game

The Spark: Hospitals take on Yelp
The Spark: Hospitals take on Yelp

With online reviews more important than ever, hospitals are now getting into the physician ratings game.

Instead of relying on popular review websites like,, or, hospitals want to "out-Yelp Yelp" by sharing patient satisfaction survey results with the general public, said Andy Ibbotson, vice president of National Research Corporation.

That's because 77 percent of consumers begin their search for health care online, he said.

"One out of three patients will avoid physicians after seeing negative reviews online," Ibbotson told CNBC's "Closing Bell."

Ibbotson founded Digital Assent in 2009 to help doctors and hospitals improve patient satisfaction and online reputation. The company was acquired by National Research Corporation in 2014.

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It's not an app, nor can you find it online. Rather hospitals use the service to post real patient feedback on their own websites.

"We make hospital websites the most-trusted source for patient ratings and reviews anywhere on the web," says Ibbotson.

In April 2014, Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta was the first hospital system in the country to go live with the National Research Corporation network. Since then, one of the biggest names in health care—Cleveland Clinic —has also signed on.