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Trust – Now is a Good Time (Part 3)

David P. Lind BenchmarkAlbert Einstein spoke of trust in the following way: “Every kind of peaceful cooperation among men is primarily based on mutual trust.”

Trust in our healthcare system has been waning for a number of years…and it does not seem to show signs of improvement anytime soon.

A number of past studies provide sobering facts on the perception of our healthcare system:

  • In 1966, 73 percent of Americans expressed a “great deal of confidence” in our medical institutions. However, by 2004 that figure had dropped to 32 percent. (Data from Harris)
  • 79 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “There is something seriously wrong with our healthcare system.” (National Coalition on Health Care 1997)
  • 87 percent of Americans agreed that “the quality of medical care for the average person needs to be improved.” (National Coalition on Health Care 1997)

Trust can be difficult to measure…but easier to understand.  Medical organizations that are sincere about pursuing and maintaining an enduring culture of trust should establish initiatives to emotionally connect with their patients to perpetuate that trust.

With the advent of “consumerism” in healthcare, the patient is no longer a passive bystander, but rather, an active partner when interacting with their provider(s). The healthcare organization that can successfully connect with the emotional well-being of the patient will reap abundant rewards within our new, evolving healthcare environment.

By having the “patient-centric” mantra carefully integrated within the DNA of the organization, a deeper patient trust can take root and eventually grow within (and beyond) the community in which the organization practices. As Alice K. Jacobs, MD, President of the American Heart Association once said, “Trust has been shown to be essential to patients, in their willingness to seek care, their willingness to reveal sensitive information, their willingness to submit to treatment and their willingness to follow recommendations.” Establishing a high level of trust is good not only for the patient, but also for their employer, the community being served, and of course, to the healthcare provider.

However healthcare reform turns out, this is a wonderful opportunity for healthcare providers to develop that new sense of trust that patients so desperately hope to have now and in the future. Now is a great time to build that currency of commerce we know as TRUST!

 

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