Patient and physician trust in U.S. Health Care

Trust in the U.S. Health Care System: New Findings

Caroline Pearson, Senior VP of Health Care Strategy at NORC at the University of Chicago and a Nexus Insights Fellow, announced the release of new research from NORC that examines physician and patient trust in the U.S. health care system. The research was conducted as part of the ABIM Foundation Building Trust initiative. 

The study, which surveyed 2069 adults from the general public and 600 physicians, found that while 78% of patients report high levels of trust in their doctors, trust is lower among Black, Hispanic, lower-income, and younger patients.

Other key findings from the study:

  • Both physicians and patients trust clinicians more than they trust the healthcare system as a whole.
  • While most physicians trust community health services to support patients’ health and well-being, physicians report lower levels of trust in long-term care and home healthcare providers, who are essential during discharges and care transitions.
  • Physicians overestimate their patients’ ability to adhere to their treatment recommendations.
  • Although physicians understand the importance of building trust with patients, they do not always perform trust-building behaviors.
  • The majority of the public reported favorable or no change in how much they trust their doctor due to the pandemic, however roughly 30% of physicians experienced a decrease in their level of trust in the healthcare system and healthcare organization leadership during the pandemic. Rebuilding trust is needed. 

The nonpartisan and objective research organization NORC at the University of Chicago was founded in 1941 as the National Opinion Research Center.  It’s purpose is to help governments, nonprofits, and businesses make better decisions through data and analysis.

See the findings.

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