Who do patients trust?

Keith A. Reynolds

Trust is down in hospitals and the health system as a whole.

The public trusts physicians more than hospitals and the healthcare system as a whole, but barriers still remain between patients and their doctors.

According to a presentation from NORC at the University of Chicago, 84 percent of the general public trust doctors compared to 72 percent who trust hospitals and 64 percent who trust the healthcare system as a whole. The same was seen among doctors, with 94 percent saying they trust doctors within their practice and 85 percent saying they trust those outside of their practice, while only 60 percent say they trust hospitals.

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.

The presentation says that 78 percent of the general public trust in their primary physician. This trust is more pronounced among older and higher-income respondents. It is also more pronounced among white respondents (82 percent) followed by Asian respondents (79 percent), Black respondents (71 percent), and Hispanic respondents (68 percent).

Most patients, 85 percent, say their choice in physician is based on coverage followed by 69 percent who based it on convenience and 64 percent who based their choice on recommendation. Only 33 percent based their choice on the physician’s age, 29 percent on their gender, and 18 percent based on race or ethnicity, according to the presentation.

Meanwhile, the data shows physicians are overestimating their patients’ ability to stick to treatment recommendations with 96 percent of doctors believing their patient are able to fill prescriptions and 93 percent believing they can follow treatment recommendations compared to only 81 percent of the public who say they are able to do these things. This is most obvious when it comes to scheduling appointments, with 90 percent of physicians who believe their patients can compared to 76 percent of the public who say they can, the presentation says.

The full physician survey can be found here, and the full public survey can be found here.