Feature Medicine and the Media

TripAdvisor for fertility clinics

BMJ 2015; 350 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h2599 (Published 14 May 2015) Cite this as: BMJ 2015;350:h2599
  1. Sally Howard, journalist, London
  1. sal{at}sallyhoward.net

A user generated website that scores clinics looks likely but will it be of any help to people seeking treatment, asks Sally Howard

TripAdvisor is a website that hosts mostly user generated reviews of hotels and so on of interest to tourists. Should patients seeking fertility treatment get something similar, based on others’ reviews, to help them choose a clinic?

A public debate convened by the Progress Educational Trust at London’s Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists in April considered this divisive issue. Lucy Richardson, a senior clinical embryologist and an audience member, voiced the concerns of many in recounting her experience of booking a weekend break to Italy with her TripAdvisor conversant mother: “If it’s not a five [star rating] for everything from location to sleep quality and cleanliness, she won’t consider it. But what does a star rating tell you?

“What could such a crude measure, for example, tell you about the complex experience of undergoing fertility treatment?”

User generated review websites are one of the decade’s dotcom success stories. They range from review and ratings sites (such as TripAdvisor), where users rate people or products, to …

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