The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted nearly every part of healthcare, including how much doctors trust their own employers and the medical system overall.
Almost one-third of doctors say their trust in their organization leadership and health system overall decreased during the pandemic. That's according to new survey data of 600 physicians from the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago.
ABIM is also launching a new campaign called "Building Trust" aimed at increasing trust among clinicians, patients and other healthcare stakeholders.
"Our goal is to make trust an essential, important aspect of healthcare that people intentionally focus on," said Daniel Wolfson, executive vice president and chief operating officer at ABIM. "Whether or not doctors receive received protective equipment, how organizations communicated with their employees about guidelines and operations largely determined whether their physicians thought they could trust [their administration leadership]."
The campaign will mirror ABIM's now almost decade-old "Choosing Wisely" campaign, which aimed at reducing low-value tests and procedures. Researchers found little evidence that the effort moved the needle significantly.
The Building Trust project already has about 50 healthcare organizations, including Scripps Health, Novant Health, Humana, Walmart and the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, submitting practices that they think build trust.
Campaign partner UnityPoint Health, an integrated health system in Iowa and Wisconsin, created exam room table tents indicating a room had been cleaned and an infographic for staff on how to safely greet patients to create small intentional gestures to build trust of patients.
The campaign will include conversations with thought leaders and research into how organizations can drive trust through communication, competence and compassion.
"We've seen that in organizations like Virginia Mason (Franciscan Health), which has a contract between the physicians and administration to align their interests," Wolfson said. "Alignment of values is always important and when the administration and physicians are not aligned on what they think are their values—and financial considerations have to be put into play—there are concerns. I think the antidote to that are real conversations between administration and physicians."