Background: NHS dental practices use the Friends and Family Test (FFT) to routinely record and report patient experience. Online reviews allow dental patients a way of expressing their opinions outside of the constraints of a single question. Automatic sentiment analysis of online reviews may offer a new method by which patient rated experience may be determined, which can in turn be used to assess the quality of service in a region. This study aims to compare the outcomes of the Friends and Family Test and sentiment analysis of online reviews when assessing patient rated experience in England. Methods: Reviews for dental practices on the NHS.uk website the period March 2019-February 2020 were analysed with the Amazon Web Services DetectSentiment API and assigned sentiment scores of positive, negative, neutral and mixed. Reviews were linked to individual practice V codes and compared against outputs of the Friends and Family Test over the same period. Analysis was performed using chi square to compare responses. Results: Of 15650 NHS.uk online reviews 82% were positive. The FFT over the same period showed positive sentiments in 96% of cases. There was a statistically significant difference between the proportion of patient recommendations displayed in the FFT compared to online reviews (2=5025.375 df =1 p =<0.01), with significantly fewer recommendations seen in online reviews. No statistically significant difference in sentiment was detected across the different commissioning regions of England in either FFT or NHS.uk reviews. Conclusions: Online reviews are more likely to express negative sentiment compared to the Friends and Family Test. The information gathered by continuous assessment of the sentiment of online reviews could be utilised as a tool to measure quality from the perspective of patients and to assess the regional variation in performance of primary care dentists.
|JOURNAL OF MEDICAL INTERNET RESEARCH
|In preparation - 8 Jul 2021