Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 34, Issue 7, pp 1079–1080 | Cite as

“Told”: the Word Most Correlated to Negative Online Hospital Reviews

  • Anish K. AgarwalEmail author
  • Arthur P. Pelullo
  • Raina M. Merchant
Concise Research Reports


Online review platforms have the ability to amplify an individual’s voice. The emergence of these platforms provides an open and public forum for patients to express their opinions which may help redefine how health systems approach the patient experience.

With over 140 million reviews, Yelp! (, the online review platform, continues to grow in scale and popularity. Patients have begun to share their opinions and ratings with over 8.4 million healthcare related reviews.1, 2 Though online reviews of individual providers may be low yield,3 these reviews may expose blind spots not traditionally considered by hospitals. It is the observability and scale of these online reviews that provides an opportunity for both innovation and promise.4

Our objective was to analyze hospital reviews posted on Yelp through the application of machine learning and natural language processing. We hypothesized there would be common language correlated with negative and positive reviews.



We thank Lyle Ungar, PhD, for assistance with machine learning analyses.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anish K. Agarwal
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Arthur P. Pelullo
    • 3
  • Raina M. Merchant
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Emergency MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.National Clinician Scholars ProgramUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Penn Medicine, Center for Digital HealthPhiladelphiaUSA

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