Permanente Federation co-CEOs on restoring patient trust

Ramin Davidoff, MD             Maria Ansari, MD, FACC

Physicians and other health care leaders should take steps to restore trust with patients amidst a national decline of faith in institutions, including health care, write co-CEOs of The Permanente Federation, Maria Ansari, MD, FACC, and Ramin Davidoff, MD, in a Modern Healthcare commentary. 

A recent Gallup poll shows that only 34% of Americans trust the medical system, down 10 percentage points from the same period in 2021. According to Drs. Ansari and Davidoff, challenges that arose during the COVID-19 pandemic, including “incomplete and late information about the spread of infection, conflicting guidance regarding the use of face masks, and questions about the efficacy of vaccines,” contributed to this decline in trust. 

Related patient trust story: “Preserving the doctor-patient relationship” 

To restore trust with patients, Drs. Ansari and Davidoff recommend that physicians and health care organizations take the following 5 steps: 

  1. Respect the patient voice by listening to their needs and addressing concerns in a respectful manner. 
  2. Accelerate the shift to physician-led, value-based care that grants physicians the freedom and autonomy to act in the best interests of their patients. 
  3. Meet patients where they are through technical innovation, creating an improved experience that engages patients and improves outcomes.  
  4. Shift more care into the home to address patient needs and close health care access gaps. 
  5. Provide culturally responsive care by eliminating socioeconomic health disparities, supporting a diverse workforce, and ensuring patient interactions are guided by cultural sensitivity and empathy. 

Related physician leadership story: “Replay: Permanente Live — Physicians leading through change” 

“Patient engagement, treatment adherence, improved patient outcomes, and ultimately patient satisfaction all rely on trust between patients, clinicians, private health organizations and public institutions,” they write. “Each of us who plays a role in the health care system should leverage every touch point to build trust with patients now and in the future.” 

Note: To read the full article, visit Modern Healthcare (subscription required).