What is it about?

Poor culture in hospitals is often marked by poor employee morale, staff interactions and even negative impacts on patient safety. The work presented in this article tests whether publicly available employee online reviews can used as a proxy data source about signs of hospital culture in Australia. Online reviews may have limitations when compared to large scale surveys or employee interviews and consultations as they are not as thorough. However, they do offer a free dipstick to judge some of the main markers of hospital culture. Therefore, when available, online employee reviews could be used to help direct on-the-ground culture assessment and change decisions for large hospitals.

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Why is it important?

Understanding whether and how culture change efforts work at hospitals can cost millions of dollars and years of effort. Finding alternative sources of data in this context can help reduce the burden on stretched and under-funded healthcare systems. Decisions related to how culture change or improvement initiatives can be structured can be informed and tested based on preliminary findings from freely available data such as online reviews. This is the first and only study of its kind within the Australian context.


Online reviews have become a means to demand an increase transparency and accountability for large systems and services. This is evident as employees increasingly have the option of posting about their experiences as workers online. Online reviews on job sites by healthcare workers offers a valuable alternative or supplement to large scale staff surveys. This free data source can allow organisations to understand ongoing employee concerns and pain points, and show up areas for improvement that organisations can integrate into their staff wellbeing efforts.

Antoinette Pavithra
Macquarie University

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: An assessment of organisational culture in Australian hospitals using employee online reviews, PLoS ONE, September 2022, PLOS, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0274074.
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