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Natalie Escobar

You Can Now Check Your Hospital's C-Section Rate on Yelp

It’s only in California, but it’s an important step forward.
PUBLISHED ON 07/26/2017

It’s not news that the c-section rate in the United States has been going up — but it is news how wildly those rates can vary depending on where you live. A Consumer Reports study in May revealed that low-risk hospitals in different states can have dramatically different rates. In a state like California, the c-section rate for low-risk deliveries can vary from 10 percent to 70 percent, depending on the hospital. But this kind of data can be hard to get your hands on, especially when you’re trying to compare hospitals for when baby arrives.

Yelp wants to try to help fix this problem. The company announced on Wednesday that it will start displaying c-section rates and other maternal health data on the pages of 250 California hospitals with delivery units. This is thanks to a new partnership with the California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) and Cal Hospital Compare, which CHCF launched to lower the state’s c-section rate for low-risk women, according to Yelp spokesperson Shannon Eis.

Although the c-section rate is the focus of the initiative, there will be other types of data displayed on the hospitals’ pages, including:

  • “Low-risk” c-section rate: The percentage of c-sections administered to women delivering one child who is full-term and positioned head-first.
  • Episiotomy rate: How common episiotomies are at the hospital
  • VBAC Availability: Whether or not the hospital will allow moms to delivery vaginally after having a cesarean
  • VBAC Rate: How often VBACs happen at the hospital, if available.

Currently, this data will only exist on the site for hospitals in California. But Yelp also hopes to expand into other states through partnerships with other government groups and nonprofit organizations that can provide data, Eis tells The Bump.

“Offering greater transparency around the performance of medical providers will help ensure doctors and hospitals strive for the highest standards of patient care,” she says.

This isn’t the first time that Yelp has provided hospital data on its platform to make it more accessible to everyday people. In 2015, the company partnered with the investigative newsroom ProPublica which had gathered information on average emergency room wait times, nursing home fine information and dialysis clinic performance scores. It’s all part of their larger Consumer Protection Initiative, Eis tells The Bump. This new maternal health partnership actually came about because of the ProPublica partnership and resulting conversations in the medical community, she says, and making this data more accessible to parents will ultimately help improve outcomes.

“Using the information available on Yelp, would-be patients can select facilities that offer the highest level of patient care and encourage underperforming hospitals to improve the quality of care they provide,” she says.