As it turns out, the more a hospital is “liked” on Facebook, the less likely you are to, say, die of a weird infection in that hospital. “A new study, published in the American Journal of Medical Quality, found the social media site was a reliable indicator of hospital quality.

While hospitals have been a little behind the curve in embracing all aspects of social media, consumers, who are on the forefront, have not forgotten hospitals. And consumers are very willing to click a “like” button for any business — from hospitals to pet groomers — that has a Facebook presence.

“For this study, the researchers wanted to ask three questions: How many hospitals in a sample of 82 hospitals in the New York City area had a Facebook page? How many ‘likes’ did the hospital have? Is the number of ‘likes’ on a hospital’s Facebook page correlated with traditional indicators of quality and patient satisfaction?”

As it turns out, in answer to that last question, it’s a Yes. “They found less than half the hospitals had a Facebook page. Of those that did, ‘likes’ were positively associated with the percentage of recommendations. What’s more, for every one percentage point decrease in the 30-day mortality rate, there were almost 93 more ‘likes’ on Facebook.”

Thursday headlines:

When it Comes to HIPAA, We’re All Learners, Not Losers: “HIPAA audits are like the root canal procedure of health care. They may be painful and most providers would avoid them if possible, but they do serve a purpose.”

I CAN’T HEAR YOU: “Despite objections from regulators, health insurers Blue Shield of California and Aetna Inc. are proceeding with double-digit rate increases that state officials said were unreasonable.”

Obamacare and Technology: “No matter your political bent, one of the more interesting aspects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare in the common parlance) is its emphasis on technology’s role in curbing healthcare costs. A layer below that, of course, is the question of what kind of technologies will be able to help lower healthcare spending and associated costs.”

I See What They Did There: Strike Debt Declares Healthcare Emergency: It’s a Matter of ‘Life or Debt.’

Oh, Pam: The Associated Press’s Pamela Sampson suggested that Chavez might still be alive if he spent more on healthcare and less on gigantic skyscrapers.

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