The news: Patients’ trust in doctors and hospitals steadily declined throughout the pandemic, according to Trilliant Health’s 2022 Trends Shaping the Health Economy report.
Trilliant’s report cited survey data from Public Opinion Strategies, which assessed US consumers’ levels of trust in receiving critical health information from entities such as physicians, nurses, hospitals, the CDC, health insurers, and state and local public health officials. Patients’ trust ratings were compared between April 2020 and December 2021.
Key survey nuggets include:
Why trust in providers is waning: The report doesn’t delve into the reasons why consumer trust in providers has deteriorated—but we’ll offer a few educated suggestions.
1. Lack of communication. Anxious and concerned patients turned to doctors for clarity during the pandemic. Yet most weren’t satisfied with the frequency of responses:
2. Cost uncertainty. More than half of patients said they’ve been hit with an unanticipated large medical bill, according to a November 2021 report from the US Department of Health and Human Services. These bills are putting consumers in debt. If providers can’t show good-faith price estimates upfront, they’ll continue losing patients’ trust.
3. Inequitable access. Access to healthcare is easier for some populations than others.
Earning consumers’ trust back: The provider-patient relationship was eroding before the pandemic, but COVID-19 added further tension around it.
Physicians can reestablish trust with patients by expressing compassion for their concerns around cost and access, and taking extra time to help them navigate a complex healthcare system.
This article originally appeared in Insider Intelligence's Digital Health Briefing—a daily recap of top stories reshaping the healthcare industry. Subscribe to have more hard-hitting takeaways delivered to your inbox daily.
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