Report: Physician distrust greater in racial minorities

A survey fielded at the beginning of 2021 found the Black and Hispanic patients were less likely to report their physician performs trust-building behaviors.

Trust in physicians is lower in the Black and Hispanic communities, it may be because of physicians not taking the time to build that trust.

According to a presentation from NORC at the University of Chicago, distrust in their primary physician was more pronounced among those younger than 30 years old, those making less than $30,000, and Black and Hispanic patients. Trust in primary physicians was highest among patients over 60 years old, those making more than $100,000, and among white and Asian patients.

The data is based on a survey of 600 physicians from late-January to early-February and a survey of 2,069 American adults from late-December to late-January.

Black and Hispanic patients were less likely to report their physicians perform trust-building behaviors. About 76 percent of Black patients and 77 percent of Hispanic patients report their physician trusts what they say compared to 86 percent of white patients and 88 percent of Asian patients. Similar margins were observed in responses related to physicians spending time with the patient and whether the patient feels the doctor cares about them, according to the presentation.

The data also shows a disconnect between physician and patient perceptions of discrimination in healthcare. The survey found that 59 percent of patients say the system discriminates against people “a great deal/a good amount/somewhat,” compared to 49 percent of physicians. A further 12 percent of the public say they’ve been discriminated against by a healthcare facility or office.

According to the presentation, black respondents were twice as likely to report they’d been the subject of discrimination in healthcare. People who’ve reported they were the subject of discrimination in the healthcare setting are twice as likely to say they don’t trust the system.